Friday, 8 January 2010

First butter of the year

The bad weather has been forecast to continue for ten days, so I decided to pop out yesterday, as there were fewerpeople on the roads.    We were running low on butter, so I went to the cash & carry for double cream as there was a BOGOFF on Bounty kitchen towels and Fairy Dishwasher tablets as well.

The journey was fine, but the car parking was troublesome. I eventually managed to manouevre my car into a "space" in this huge, near empty car park.  Then some bloke in a 4x4 decided to park next to me! All this space, and he had to park right next to me!  My concern was that Wilhelmina (my Focus) would slide into him when I tried to get out of the space.

I knocked on his window and asked him if he would mind parking a bit further away. I explained that I had spent quite a long time sliding iaround before I got into my space  and, under the circumstances,  I was nervous about having another car beside me.  He moved... a long way.

Anyway. Because the weather had kept many people away, 2 pint bottles of double cream were greatly reduced.  I normally buy 5 x1 litre bottles, but I bought 4 x 4 UK pint bottles this time (10 Litres, so double my normal quantity).

I make the butter, pot it, chill it, then freeze as much of it as I can.   The trick is to find containers which are either (a) suitable to use as butter dishes, direct from the freezer (for which I have a quantity of small Lock 'n; Locks, each of which hold about 250g),  or something I can use to shape the butter while it chills, then I turn it out into freezer bags for freezing.  Getting butter *out* of a countainer is a bit of a challenge. In the past I've tried jelly moulds,  ice cream scoops, ice cube trays (which I now use to freeze garlic butter),  ice cream moulds, burger presses.. the list seems endless.

When I bought so much extra cream, I didn't really consider the container situation. In fact, I didn't consider it until I was pottting up and started to run out of usual pots.

I got out my "Individual Cheesecake tin" which I bought from Lakeland a while ago.  Last time I made butter, this worked reasonably well, I didn't leave too much butter behind when I pushed out each little "cake".

But this time, I had soooooo much butter. My 10 Litres of double cream produced:
  • Buttermilk: 3 litres (it might have been 4 litres, I can't remember whether I included the last 1 litre or not). 
  • Butter: 11.5lb Sorry about mixing my metric and imperial. I find it easier to do the butter in pounds and ounces, because my rule of thumb is to add one teaspoon of salt for each pound of butter.
So, I raided my cake tin cupboard.  I uncovered a "deep muffin tray". I lined it with paper cake cases, and filled it up.  

Then I found two "pork pie tins".  I lined the sides (the bases are removable) and filled those up.   And still I had more butter waiting to be salted.

Two spring form "baby cake" tins were the last option, and then I was out of sensibly sized containers.  I did think about rolling the remaining butter and freezing it in logs, but  I decided to make extra garlic butter instead.   

Garlic Butter is easy to deal with,  because I put it into flexible ice cube trays. Once the butter is frozen, I pop it out and put them into a bag. This means I can get out the exact amount I need, when I need it.

Our freezer is "frost free", so the only use my flexible ice cube trays get is when they are used for butter.   I have one with hearts (from when I was a young romantic),  and a set of 4 Winnie The Pooh ones which were a present from my Auntie Joy.  It's a bit spooky putting WtP, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore into the frying pan when I'm frying mushrooms. 

It took quite a long time, mainly due to rooking around in cupboards for containers,  and the need to do so much garlic. However, the washing up is the same irrespective of how much butter I make,  so  from that point of view, bulk is good. 

I have to confess that a lot of the buttermilk went down the sink. That's why I can't remember if it was 3 litres or 4. I kept 2 litres, which I'll used to make buttermilk bread and soda bread, and possibly some buttermilk pancakes... but there's a limit to how much of it I can use in one go.  I keep it in the fridge in an airtight jug, so it lasts for a while.


  1. That was very interesting. I had only made butter by accident when I was whipping cream. The butter sounds delicious and I love buttermilk pancakes. I remember my great uncles used to drink buttermilk. Not me. I love the smell of it though.

  2. Hi John - I feel a bit of a fraud: although I DO make all my own butter, the kitchen mixer does all the hard work of churning the cream. All I have to do is to wash the butter after churning (to get the last of the buttermilk out, otherwise it goes rancid quickly), then put it in the clean mixer bowl with salt to blend, then pot.

    Hi Callie - Home made butter *is* delicious, and I thoroughly recommend it. I;m not sure I could bring myself to drink buttermilk, although I do like it in baking.

    In case you fancy having a go, I found this site really good. SHows pics of each stage using a food mixer, and suggests how much salt to add, etc.