Saturday, August 20, 2011

churnin'


Hello, it's a rare post today, one dedicated to culinary techniques!

A few weeks back my sister and I [re]discovered our mutual interest in gastronomic delights. Having said that, there was one thing that stuck after many nights spent watching cooking shows: making my own butter (cow not included.) So, having done my day job, I proceeded to do this butter-making thing. There are plenty of instructions of how to make butter available online, so I'm going to concentrate on the experience of making it.

I'm quite familiar with an electric beater/mixer, having used them extensively for cakes and pastries and all sorts of things in the past. I'm also familiar with how things like eggs and cream turn choppy-liquid-fluffy when they are run under a mixer. Well, butter-making takes cream-beating to another level: curdly and separatist*.
*we ain't militants.

I took a few pictures of the venture so that you could see what I mean:

10 minutes in - liquid cream on right side, thick whipped cream on left
starting to curdle...
I've been spattered enough, it's time to stop.
left side - rosemary, right side - slightly salted
the cat who got the cream
And a video so that we can share how the butter-wrapping process went:

video

The whole process takes about 20 minutes from start to clean-up, and since butter is roughly 80% fat, you can work out your per-pot yield from the fat content of your pot of cream. Plus, for happy cats and happy humans, there's the added bonus of buttermilk at the end of it. As for myself, the fact that butter-making is so technical (i.e. "watch until physical properties turn XYZ") appeals to me and my that-line-is-almost-straight sensibility. Maybe this is the attraction that draws guys towards steak-making pyrotechnics.

A few tips if you decide to go butter-making:
- get your paper rounds ready before you start beating the cream
- a standing mixer is a great boon (KitchenAid, anyone?)
- spatter-guard helps guard clothes from spatters (especially towards the end)
- a silicone scraper and clean cheesecloth are handy for packaging

Alright then, that's all for now, I better get back to the pattern table!

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