Monday, May 10, 2010

Homemade bread AND homemade butter!

Ilipilli recently posted about their favourite sourdough bread recipe. I had always thought sourdough was difficult to make, involving days or weeks (or more) of starter preparation, and subject to the whims of the microbial gods. This version uses a small amount of regular yeast, needs no (yes, no) kneading, and the taste is awesome. This is no tv chef hyperbole- the taste is amazing! Try it!

When planning my baking adventures, I got thinking about other homemade foods, and had a desire to make our own butter. I have to say from the outset that I'm not a big butter fan, having broken a twenty year old bread-needs-to-be-buttered habit over ten years ago. Believe me, after a few weeks off the butter wagon, you come to notice and appreciate butter (and dislike margerine!) a lot more. I still think butter tastes great on bread, but I don't have it regularly. Until recently, we didn't even keep butter-for spreading in the house, meaning butter-dependent guests had to dig into the cooking butter (which is no different, obviously, but just not so nicely presented!). Big Bro has, however, developed a taste for butter, so we've decided to offer it infrequently as a "sometimes food" (and certainly not automatically!) rather than have incomplete blocks of cooking butter.

So when I planned our bread baking, I thought we could make butter to go with it.

When I mentioned that we made butter, I was surprised by how many of my otherwise well-educated acquaintances didn't know how butter is made! Perhaps they never read Laura Ingals Wilder books with the churner on rockers, or saw the churning apparatuses at ye olde tourist houses? Butter is just made from cream that is whipped until it separates into the fat (butter) and the liquid (buttermilk). So you just mix cream past the whipped cream state. I remember I enjoyed making butter when I was a child- we did it by shaking a carton of cream until it eventually made a "slop slop" noise, indicating the butter and buttermilk had separated out. I didn't think Big Bro's energy and attention span were up to the manual version, so we brought in the big gun- the KitchenAid. For the record, I bought the cream at our local shop and couldn't get anything that didn't have gelatin ("thickened cream") which some websites say is a no-no, but it was fine: for the record (and anyone googling it!), you can make butter from thickened cream!

We put 300mL cream in the mixer
And whipped it.
And whipped it.
And whipped it.
And all of a sudden the butter separated from the buttermilk.
We strained the buttermilk off the butter and added a few pinches of salt to the butter. To make it properly you should wash the buttermilk off the butter with water (the buttermilk can go rancid) but as ours was just a demo-model, I didn't bother too much.

A few sips of buttermilk each, a smear of butter on our warm sourdough, and if we were feeling indulgent, a smear of quince jelly to top it off. And it was good.

Part of the AMB Blog Carnival.


ilipilli said...

Ooh wow. We have been reading Little House in the Big Woods with Luke over the last few months (sporadically) - so will have to give this a try too!

_vTg_ said...

Lucky you! I am SO looking forward to getting the boys into my favourite chapter books. A couple of years ago I bought The Little House Cookbook from Amazon. Admittedly I haven't used it at all (yet...?) but it's fun to flick through with the quotes from the books prefacing the recipes. There is also a Little House Craft book from memory.

Wanderlust said...

Wow, how cool! I want to try making butter now. And really, sourdough bread that doesn't require a starter sitting on top of the refrigerator for weeks?? I've always wanted to try but have been intimidated. Growing up outside San Francisco, I'm a big sourdough fan. I'm going to have to try this!!

Thanks for taking part in the blog carnival.

Sparkling Adventures said...

This is fantastic. I was just talking to my 5yo about how butter is made -- now I have photos to show her!

Thanks so much!

Be A Fun Mum said...


_vTg_ said...

Welcome, AMB visitors! The sourdough and the butter are definitely worth the (small) effort- do try and report back!! :-)

Veronica said...

Before Amy was diagnosed with Coeliacs, I used to make all my own bread. I found it soothing actually and I miss it.

ash said...

Oooh! This is making me crave! Hi from another Laura Ingalls Wilder fan :) That's going to be a fun project for us to do, Thank-you!!

Brenda said...

Yumm. I wish I had your talent.; )

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