Eating Like a Locavore in The Pioneer Valley
Mary Nelen writes a blog called the Valley Locavore here near the Test Kitchen in Western, MA. If you have never made butter, read through her recipe and you might be surprised at how easy it is. We highly recommend trying to source raw milk. Of course this is a health decision you have to make for yourself, but we love it in this homemade butter recipe. This would be a great recipe to make with kids during school holidays. Lots of fun and lots to talk and learn about! You can also bake with this butter; try Mary’s Rustic Pear Tart.
If you want to source raw milk, Mary has some tips: “Raw milk and cream have rich flavor and texture because it hasn’t been homogenized or pasteurized (heated to kill bacteria). In most states, farms are restricted to selling raw milk and cream on site. Health codes restrict the sale of raw dairy products in stores. Farms that sell raw dairy products should be visited to insure that sanitation precautions are observed and that the cows are grass-fed. For more information about raw milk, visit the CDC’s website with answers to Raw Milk Questions.”
I make my own butter from local cream because I bake with local grain. The butter tastes of the clover eaten by the Normandy cows that produce the milk and the grain has a rich, nutty flavor. Both dairy and grain from the Connecticut River Valley are amazing because of the soil here. This recipe is simple. Making butter from cream is like making whipped cream but taking it one step further. The secret is to agitate the cream enough to separate fat solids from buttermilk and its easy once you've done it once or twice.
Author: Mary Nelen
Makes: 1 Cup
- 1 quart raw cream at 60 degrees (pasteurized and/or homogenized will do)
- 1-½ tsp sea salt
- Allow cream to come to 60 degrees.
- Pour cream into food processor of standing mixer
- Agitate for between five and six minutes until solids separate from liquid
- Let stand in work bowl for five minutes to allow the buttermilk to drain from the butter.
- Remove butter from work bowl and place in a colander with a bowl underneath to collect the buttermilk. Reserve buttermilk for later use.
- Using a wooden spoon or your hands, knead the butter to remove the remaining buttermilk. Use some ice in the bowl or colander to sluice through the mixture. This takes about 8 minutes.
- Incorporate 1 teaspoon sea salt and transfer butter to ramekin.
- Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and cover with small piece of parchment paper.
- Butter keeps in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Slather on everything and in fall, use home made butter in my recipe for a Rustic Pear Tart (linked above).
- Use raw cream for maximum flavor but homogenized and/or pasteurized is fine.
- Be sure the cream is at 60 degrees when making butter.
- If you work with your hands in the final step, be sure to plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool them down.