Better than store-bought: How to make homemade butter.

Rob and I use milk from a dairy that’s about an hour southeast of Cincinnati. We first discovered Snowville Creamery at one of the Findlay Market shops, and now it’s widely available in grocery stores here. The milk isn’t homogenized (you have to shake the carton before pouring), it’s minimally processed and it comes from cows that spend their days outside grazing instead of confined in a barn.

Plus, it tastes amazing.

When I realized they also package cream, I thought: butter.

Making homemade butter is ridiculously easy, and the results are superior to the packaged stuff. Use this on warm bread or toast, and trust me: You’ll know the difference. Here’s a recipe for making your own homemade butter:

homemade butter
(makes just over 1 cup of butter; if you want more, simply repeat in batches)

2 cups heavy cream (be sure it doesn’t contain thickeners like carageenan; you just want cream)
salt to taste (optional; see notes below)

Take the cream out of the fridge about 30 minutes in advance; you want it at a cool room temperature. Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a deep bowl and a hand mixer) and begin whipping on high speed. Once you reach whipped cream consistency, keep going …

After about 6 to 8 minutes (more or less; the process takes less time if the cream is a bit warmer), the butter will begin to separate. You’ll see a thin, watery liquid start to accumulate in the bowl, and you’ll have small pea-sized clumps of bright yellow solids. At this point, turn the mixer to low and let the solids clump together.

Into a strainer set over a bowl, dump the contents of the bowl; strain off the buttermilk. (Save, refrigerated, for another use. Like biscuits.) Retain the butter in the strainer. Place the strainer under cold running water and rinse until the water runs through the strainer clear. Shake the strainer to drain off as much water as possible, then gather the butter into your hands and knead like dough to remove more of the water. To make salted butter, sprinkle salt over the butter and knead it in with your hands.

Salting the butter: For 2 cups of cream, add 1/2 tsp. of salt for a fairly salty butter, or 1/4 tsp. for lightly salted; alternately, leave unsalted.  To store: Keeps 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge (if it lasts that long!) or for 6 months in the freezer. Note: I wouldn’t advise baking with this butter; its water content is higher than stick butter.

Also of note: Mom was here this weekend when I made this batch, and she told me a story. When Grandma was little, she lived just across the field from her grandparents, and she had a dog named Jack. Jack had a supernatural sense of when her grandmother was making butter and would high-tail it across the field to get the buttermilk. So we gave some to Peroni.

Of further note: If you want to try making butter, I highly recommend sourcing cream from a local dairy. Some creameries in the Midwest:

Oberweis Dairy (throughout the Midwest)
Traderspoint Creamery (throughout the Midwest)
Kilgus Farmstead (IL)
Snowville Creamery (OH, KY)