Look at that gorgeous yellow butter! You cannot see it quite as well, but look at all that beautiful buttermilk below, too. Isn’t food amazing? Whenever I make butter I feel like a truly grounded foodie, getting back to my foodie roots! Despite the intimidation that seeing a butter churn might instill in you, butter is actually incredibly easy to make. And if you can get your hands on raw, grass-fed cream locally, then you are going to be very pleasantly surprised at your ability to make such fresh butter available in your very own kitchen!
The reason to put emphasis on grass-fed butter is based on the natural yellow color of the butter itself. The yellow color indicates the presence of vitamin K2, or the “Activator X” that Weston Price was talking about in his research of traditional diets. Regardless of whether you are using raw or pasteurized cream, as long as it is grass-fed you will be getting the vitamin K2 in your butterfat. This is because the vitamin K2 does not break down under heat. (This is also good news for store-bought, grass-fed butter, because when you use it in a cake, cookie, or other baked good, then you are still getting your vitamin K2.) From “On the Trail of the Elusive X Factor: A Sixty-Two Year Mystery Finally Solved“:
There are two natural forms of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1, also called phylloquinone, is found in the green tissues of plants, tightly embedded within the membrane of the photosynthesizing organelle called the chloroplast. As the chlorophyll within this organelle absorbs energy from sunlight, it releases high-energy electrons; vitamin K1 forms a bridge between chlorophyll and several iron-sulfur centers across which these electrons travel, releasing their energy so that the cell can ultimately use it to synthesize glucose. . When animals consume vitamin K1, their tissues convert part of it into vitamin K2, which fulfills a host of physiological functions in the animal that we are only now beginning to understand. The ability to make this conversion varies widely not only between species but even between strains of laboratory rats, and has not been determined in humans. The mammary glands appear to be especially efficient at making this conversion, presumably because vitamin K2 is essential for the growing infant. Vitamin K2 is also produced by lactic acid bacteria, although bacteria produce forms of the vitamin that are chemically different from those that animals produce, and researchers have not yet established the differences in biological activity between these forms.
Homemade butter is made from cream that is whipped for so long that it separates into solid butter and buttermilk. You press the butter together and squeeze out all the buttermilk, separating them into two useful items! Use the butter for anything your heart desires, and save the buttermilk for soaking flour, making pancakes, or even culturing the buttermilk to make it probiotically alive! If you use raw cream in particular, then you will be left with raw butter and raw buttermilk. Raw butter is best eaten unmelted if possible. This is not for the benefit of the vitamin K2, but for the benefit of the enzymatic and probiotic raw qualities of having raw butter on hand. Take advantage of those extra goodies by using your homemade raw butter for eating cold, and using your store-bought butter for baking and melting.
*cream at room temperature will change to butter in only about 15 minutes; chilled, it will take closer to 25 minutes
- In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour the quart of cream into the bowl and start it mixing on low. After a few bubbles start to form, you can turn the speed up a bit, making sure it doesn’t splash.
- As you let the mixer go, you will notice that the cream will go through several stages: First it will get bubbles and appear frothy, then it will thicken up like whipped cream (this is when you want to add the salt), then it will get thinner again and deflate, and a even get a little bit grainy, then it will continue to deepen in color, staying grainy, as the butterfat starts to clump more and more, and finally, the butter will suddenly clump completely together and separate from the buttermilk; you will know when it starts to slosh around!
- After the butter and buttermilk separate, pour into a strainer set over a bowl. Then press the butter down to release most of the buttermilk. Hold sieve over the sink and rinse with water a few times, pressing more and more of the buttermilk out until the liquid released when you press down is clear. Then turn the butter over onto a dishcloth, and squeeze tightly in a dishcloth to press out the remaining buttermilk then unwrap the butter and you’re done!
- You can also add flavorings to your butter, such as herbs, cinnamon, honey, and any other mix in. Since the butter is soft at this point, it’s easy to mix it all together in the same mixer you were just using (sans buttermilk of course!)
- Store raw butter in the fridge to keep it fresher for longer. Enjoy!
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