Since even regular homemade butter just isn’t trendy enough these days, the Accidental Locavore decided to try making cultured butter. The difference? Instead of beating cream until it turns into butter, there’s an aging/culturing process. It sounds difficult or complicated, but it really just means dumping some crème frâiche in with the cream and letting it sit overnight. Here’s how it comes together:
- 1 quart heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1/3 cup crème frâiche or buttermilk
- 1/4-1/2 cup ice water
Whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl (I used the one from my mixer). Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 12-48 hours.
Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Put the cream in a bowl for a stand mixer (if it’s not already), attach to mixer and cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a pouring shield if you have one). Mix on high for about 4 minutes until the butter starts to form a ball. You’ll know when it’s turning into butter because the plastic wrap will suddenly become totally spattered on.
Strain the liquid and solids in a fine sieve over a bowl. Place the solids back in the mixing bowl and knead to get rid of any excess buttermilk. Pour off the excess buttermilk. Pour ¼ cup of the ice water over the butter and knead again, pouring off the excess buttermilk. Repeat until the water is almost clear. Knead the butter until all the water is gone.
Form the butter into a cylinder or block, wrap it in cheese cloth and gently squeeze to get rid of any remaining moisture. Remove the cheese cloth and wrap the butter in plastic wrap. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Although you need to let this cultivate (I left it about 24 hours), it comes together so much faster than just whipping cream in a mixer! Mine had a nice, sweet taste and a smooth texture. I cut it up and froze most of it for a later use. I was lucky enough to find some decent cream that hadn’t been ultra-pasteurized and didn’t break the bank, so my (close to a) pound of butter cost about $6 in materials — definitely worth it!