How Cocaine Is Made

From Liquid Milk to Solid Butter

step-by-step with LOTS of pictures

  1. Why bother making butter yourself?
  2. Getting Started...
  3. Making Homemade Butter By Shaking
  4. Making Butter with a Stick Blender
  5. Don't Over-whip/blend!
  6. Traditional Butter Paddles
  7. Straining and Rinsing Your Soft Butter
  8. Interested In Making Your Own Butter?
  9. Other methods for making butter
  10. Butter Banter

Why bother making butter yourself?

That's actually a good question!

raw whipping cream, photo by Euryale SinclairFor most of my life, I didn't think much about butter. Eventually I arrived at the special time of life called "middle age" when your digestion and metabolism often shift and you start to think more about what you eat and what it does to your body. There are some foods that give me inflammatory issues, which is a fancy way of saying that when I eat certain stuff, it makes my knees and ankles start to crackle. If I eat a lot, they might even hurt.

I took a food class on inflammation and learned one of key triggers from some people is dairy. For me dairy isn't as bad as several other foods. But as I got more and more into fine-tuning what I was eating, I found myself reading wider and wider on inflammation. It's annoying and there's no one way to deal with it. Then my sister (who took the same class and was grappling with the same issue but different foods) read me something out of book she'd found at the library one night.

While milk can be very inflammatory to some people (including her), it turns out that there is a whole family of nutrients in RAW milk that get destroyed by pasteurization (heating) and homogenization (permanent blending) which actually protect joints against calcification (a huge cause of inflammation). Wow, there was no mention of that the the class we took!

Lucky us, we live in a state where you can buy raw milk right from the producer at farmer's markets. But selling raw butter is not legal. We did some testing (a fancy word for eating) of the raw milk and my sister didn't have any reaction at all. I decided to commit to trying to only eat or drink raw diary and see if over the course of several months there is any change in my knees and ankles. And that's what put me on the path to making my own raw butter.

Getting Started...

To make butter, you need to start with cream. Heavy whipping cream. This has the high concentration of butter fat you need.

This may sound wrong, but you will want to let your cream sit out at room temperature for about 8-12 hours. This allows it to sour ever so slightly. This actually makes it a lot easier to get the butter fat to come together.

Pour your thickened cream into a jar that is twice as big as the volume of cream. You need the space, especially if shaking.

Making Homemade Butter By Shaking

a straight-up butter-making method

Making homemade butter can be as easy as getting some heavy whipping cream and an empty jar. This is a great way to do it with kids or for folks who don't want to have a lot of kitchen gear to clean up afterwards. I found this to be the most helpful of all the videos I watched on beginning butter-making.
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Making Butter with a Stick Blender

from cream to soft butter

After the cream has sat out for a while, it thickens and sours slightly.

After the cream has sat out for a while, it thickens and sours slightly.

After the cream has sat out for a while, it thickens and sours slightly.
Pulsing gently with a stick blender causes concussion which makes the fat in the cream start to clump.
You can see the clumps starting to thicken.
Small globs start to form in the cream.
Here is the butter when it is first strained from the buttermilk.

Don't Over-whip/blend!

One of the tricks to making butter is to make sure you do not over-whip or over-blend the butter. It won't be a total disaster if you do, but when that happens it means that too much buttermilk gets mashed in with the forming butter fats. This makes permanent soft butter spread and not firm butter.

Don't feel bad if this happens! Your soft, spreadable butter will still taste good. But be sure to eat it more quickly, as the increased buttermilk can lead it to spoil faster.

Traditional Butter Paddles

for draining and firming up the butter

Birch Wood Butter Paddles 8.5 Inch

Birch Wood Butter Paddles 8.5 Inch

These are the traditional paddles used to drain butter and make it more firm. Basically they help squeeze water and excess buttermilk out of the butter fat.

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Straining and Rinsing Your Soft Butter

firming up and finishing the butter

Once rinsed, the butter starts to become more firm and look like commercial butter.

Once rinsed, the butter starts to become more firm and look like commercial butter.

Once rinsed, the butter starts to become more firm and look like commercial butter.
When you strain the buttermilk, save it aside. More butter frequently forms up as you work the first big lumps.
A very fine strainer will catch the butter fat and allow it to make bigger clumps.
Working it with paddles squeezes out more water and buttermilk, making the spread with which we are familiar.

Interested In Making Your Own Butter?

thickened cream, photo by Euryale Sinclair

Are you going to give butter-making a try?

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  • teamnana Mar 22, 2013 @ 9:04 pm
    I did this when my kids were young. Now, I'll have to try it with the grandkids!
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  • Euryale Mar 24, 2013 @ 10:09 am
    That's a great idea and I'm sure they'll love it!
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  • elynmac Mar 18, 2013 @ 7:55 pm
    No raw milk in China. I wouldn't trust their TB testing, which all raw milk producers do in the US. BUT, I love the idea. Raw milk is an excellent food, and I adore milk. I wish I lived in your state!
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  • Graceonline Mar 18, 2013 @ 5:57 pm
    Ah, Squidoo's polls are broken still, so can't vote, but I'd love to get a butter churn and start making my own butter. My grandmother made her own, and when we visited, we children always got to churn the butter. We took turns, and our turns never lasted long enough.
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