When you are going to indulge in dairy then the pastured variety is the healthiest way to go- although it is by no means the cheapest. Grass-fed animals are more likely to be humanely treated and the nutritional content of their milk products is going to be far superior to what you would get from feedlot cattle. So while you 'pay for what you get,' there is a way to make pastured dairy more affordable: make it yourself!
Start by pouring 2 cups of the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix on high. Wrap an old kitchen towel around the bowl because the cream will splash everywhere otherwise. Once it turns into whip cream, you can take the towel down but it will start splashing again when it starts to separate. Leaving the cream on the counter for 30 minutes beforehand will shorten the time it takes for the butter to separate from the buttermilk. Since I can never seem to remember to do this, it takes about 10 minutes for it to separate.
Once the stiff whip cream starts to turn into butter and buttermilk, switch to the paddle attachment on the mixer. If this is not done the butter will collect inside of the whisk making it difficult to get out. Wrap the towel around the bowl and mix on low speed until the butter and buttermilk have fully separated- about 2 minutes.
|It will look like this.|
Press all the butter into a patty on the side of the bowl to extract as much of the buttermilk as possible. Pour the buttermilk into a clean Ball jar and place in the fridge for use in baking.
Any remaining buttermilk in the butter will cause it to go rancid sooner rather than later, especially if you keep it out on the counter (I don't recommend this). Rinsing the butter a few times will help it keep for longer. Pour cold, filtered water into the mixing bowl with the butter and turn on low speed for 10 seconds. (There are ice cubes in my photo but I found it made the butter too hard to work with so just stick with the cold water.) Scrape the butter off the paddle attachment and form into another patty- dump the milky-looking rinse water and repeat this process until the water is clear. It took me a total of three times.
Place the butter on a piece of parchment and blot off any remaining water with a clean kitchen rag. Fold the parchment paper in half over the butter and use it to help form a butter log.
|Made-with-Love next to a store-bought stick of butter.|
Your yummy butter is now ready for consumption! Store in the fridge inside a butter crock or just roll back up in the parchment paper, twisting the ends tightly closed. Enjoy within 2 weeks. (Not a problem in my house!)
Make your holiday cookies extra special (and somewhat healthier) this year with some homemade pastured butter!