Thursday, 17 April 2014

Buttermaking with a KitchenAid

I make butter every 4-6 weeks, using cream bought in bulk.    It's the same amount of mess, and the same amount of clearing up, whether I make a couple of litres or a lot of litres, so I now make about 10 litres at a time, and I have a production  line going on. 

I remembered to take some photos yesterday, so I thought I'd write it up here.

Preparation
First of all, I clear my work area, and clean it with something like Dettol spray, or Milton.   This includes cleaning the sink/   Then I get out all my equipment, and clear a space in the fridge. I stand the mixer on some kitchen towel.    Then I tie my hair back, put my pinny on, wash my hands, and get started.

1.  Open all the cartons. It's surprisingly hard to do this with buttery fingers or buttery gloves.

2. I use about 1 and a half litres of cream for each batch.  I pour the cream into my kitchen aid bowl. Then, I put the lid back on the carton and turn it upside down to get the last of the cream out (used in the next batch).

You can see I am using the beaters with rubber on both sides, I've found these more effective than the whisk (which gets the butter clogged in it and therefore wastes loads of butter) or the metal beater.


3. I fit a lid to the mixer bowl.   KitchenAid have lids available which are used typically for dough proving. I bought mine from the US via Ebay -  we simply cut a hole in one of them so that it can fit on the mixer (before the beater is attached). Without this, even at a slow speed, the buttermilk sloshes everywhere. 

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4. I turn the mixer on, at speed 1.  Faster isn't better. Too fast and the process doesn't work, you just end up with whipped cream. You need the fat globules to smash together and join together, not smash and repel.    

Listen to the sound.  You'll learn very quickly to hear the change in tone, as the cream gets thicker,  and you'll learn to recognise the tone that happens just a second before the butter has formed and separated from the buttermilk.

5. As soon as that happens, I switch off the machine, undo the lid, and raise the beater. .  Inside, it looks like this - loose yellow curds, and buttermilk.

6. Now we need to drain the buttermilk.  Don't waste it - it's fantastic in Yorkshire puddings, pancakes, scones, and bread.   I put a bowl underneath the beaters, to catch drips.  I then pour the buttermilk off into a jug, moving the butter around to get the buttermilk from underneath.  

7. I then mix again, at speed 1 (and with the lid on) for literally just a few seconds.  More buttermilk comes out,and now the butter has formed into more of a single mass.   I drain it, and use a firm spatula (or similar) to press against the bowl to squeeze out a bit more. .  Then I mix it again.  And sometimes again. 

You MUST get the buttermilk out. If you do not, your butter will go rancid. It's much easier to get the machine to beat out the buttermilk than it is to do it by hand when washing.

8. When I've got out as much buttermilk as I can, I empty the butter into a colander over a bowl in my (clean) sink.    I can now put the second batch of cream on to churn, while I wash the butter from the first.

9. I turn on the cold water tap so that it is running slowly. If you don't have cold water, you could pre-chill some in the freezer and use that.    I use a firm spatula  to move the butter so it is washed thoroughly.  Try to avoid pushing it through the holes in the colander. When the water  it is running fairly clear, I shake the colander to get the water out. This also rolls the butter together, probably not necessary, but it's the closest I get to doing any butter patting.   I then stand the colander over another bowl so it can drain.


The water from the washing is used to rinse out the empty cream cartons so that I can put them in the Recycling. Don't be tempted to use the water from one washing to wash the next batch.

10. When the second batch is ready for the colander, I simply plop the first batch into a big bowl in the fridge to chill down.

I carry on like this until I've made all the butter.

Now, if you want unsalted butter, all you have to do is to pot your butter and freeze it.   We like ours salted though, so we have a bit more processing to do.

Salting the Butter
Once all the butter has been made, I rinse the KitchenAid bowl and the beater to make sure there is no buttermilk (or butter with buttermilk in) on them.    I then weigh out 3 pounds of the butter from the fridge,  and I add 3 teaspoons of salt.  I then put the machine back on, and let it churn for a few minutes.

While the first lot is churning, I clear up all the things I no longer need.  I wash by hand, sometimes then putting things in the dishwasher to ensure all the grease is removed.  Don't put things covered in butter in your dishwasher - the pipes will get clogged. 

Once the first salted batch has churned (and be aware that the salt will taste a bit strong at this point.  it mellows as the butter rests),  I start potting up.   If it's warm, I'll put the butter in the fridge for a bit before potting.

A second bowl is helpful here, so you can set another lot salting while you are potting the first lot.  I do find that sometimes the machine gets a bit hot and needs a break.

For pots, I use small Lock and Lock containers,  freezer proof bowls,  and sometimes I just roll a load of butter in greaseproof paper and then freeze that

I've also used silicone muffin cases, which work reasonably well, but I find I can taste the silicone in the butter. so I now avoid them.

I've also used burger presses, which are fine as long as you have a receptacle to keep the butter in afterwards.

When it's all potted, we put everything in the fridge for a few hours to firm up, and then transfer to the freezer. 

Other Tips
Don't make the blocks too big.  We like our butter soft, so the block we're using is not kept in the fridge. T  In the summer, we don't want to risk losing butter, or have it go off, so I make smaller blocks in the summer.    
We always have one block out to use, 2 blocks in the fridge waiting, and the rest in the freezer.
As soon as a block comes out of the fridge, we take a replacement out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost.   It's just a habit to get in to.

Butter gets everywhere
I have half a j-cloth which I wet, and I use that to wipe my hands as I go.  Even so I end up with butter on the fridge handle, butter on the tap, etc.   I've got better with practice.

I've tried using food-safe gloves.  These are helpful because you can chuck them away if you end up with too much butter on them, but it does mean you lose your sense of touch (so I'm not as aware that I've just touched the fridge door with butter etc).

Flavoured Butter
If you want to make flavoured butter - wait until you've potted up everything else.  Then put the remaining butter in your Kitchenaid, along with the garlic/chopped herbs/whatever you want.  I find it helpful to include some chopped parsley, so I can see that the butter is savoury.

I've had success here by putting the flavoured butter in ice cube trays to freeze, then popping them out and storing them in a Ziplock bag in the freezer.  I can then pull out the number I need.

I've also had success by making a roll of flavoured butter and freezing that. I simply cut off the amount I need from the frozen roll.

Buttermilk
I typically get about 3 litres of buttermilk from 10 litres of cream.  I measure out several portion-sized amounts into square tubs and freeze it, so that I have buttermilk available at all times.

Once it's frozen, I pop it out of the tub and into Ziplock bags, wrapped in EasiFreeze.   The portions are usually enough to make 1 batch of Yorkshire puddings, or one loaf of Buttermilk bread.    This means I can continue to enjoy it long after the buttermilk has gone too sour to be used.

The rest is kept in lock-and-log 1.5 litre fridge jugs in the fridge.  I make buttermilk bread for about a week or so after making butter.  I'm happy to slice and freeze excess loaves.  I also use it instead of milk/water in Yorkshire puddings,  in pancake batters,  in scones.     As it starts to sour, I use it to make Irish Soda Bread.

When it's too sour for me to use, any excess is poured down the sink.

















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