Out-of-date (but not mouldy or funky-smelling) cream makes the most wonderful butter, transforming an ingredient that’s destined for the bin into the ultimate comfort food, while also extending its life.
The first time you make butter, you understand what it actually is – and how easy it is to make. At food festivals (remember those?), there are often butter-making workshops for kids, providing thick cream to pour into jars and then shake until it splits into the butter and buttermilk. It really is that simple.
Child or adult, I highly recommend making your own, not least because homemade butter is delicious, and a welcome reminder why the quality of our ingredients matters. Plus, it’s always satisfying to make your own essentials from scratch.
Buttermilk is a byproduct of the butter-making process, and is itself very useful in cooking: drink it straight, like kefir, or use in baking.
How to make butter
Making your own butter is the easiest thing in the world. My nephew will tell you so, and he started making it himself when he was just six. Young or old, it is a rewarding endeavour that I’d highly recommend. Sour or culture the cream first, and you will have a mind-blowing fermented product that can cost as much as £10 to buy ready-made. You will also have the added bonus of buttermilk to drink or bake with, too.
At least 200ml full-fat, whipping, heavy or double cream (cultured, if you prefer)
1 tsp sea salt per 200ml cream (optional)
Pour a minimum of 200ml room-temperature, full-fat cream into a suitable-sized mixer, blender or food processor bowl. Whizz until clumps of butter form, then pour off the buttermilk (save this to drink or cook with later) and gather the butter solids into a ball; at this stage, if you like, knead in a teaspoon of salt per original 200ml cream. The butter is nice and creamy eaten just as it is, but will keep for only a couple of days. To extend its shelf life, put it in a bowl of ice-cold water and knead into a tight ball, which will turn the water milky. Change the water and repeat until the water stays clear after kneading. Pack the butter into a clean jar, or pat it into a block with a wet flat spatula or butter pat, and wrap in unbleached parchment.