Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Buttering up

I'd briefly looked at electric butter churns some years ago.  I was interested in something which would speed up my home processing,  or would in some other way simplify what I do.  When I saw the price, I decided I'd better carry on doing it as I do.

I set up alerts on Ebay, Gumtree, etc,  just in case.  Over the years I've had a few alerts.  These are broken machines,  or ones which aren't at all what I'm looking for.

And then, some time ago,  one popped up for exactly the machine I had been interested in.  It was a ridiculous amount of money, so I ignored it.  Some days later,  long after the ad had gone,  I found the link to the manufacturers website and I realised that the machine I'd seen was actually a bit of a bargain. It was still a lot to pay for a hobby butterist,  but I couldn't imagine ever getting a new machine for that sort of money, nor a used one.

Eventually I found the seller advertising elsewhere,  and I bought the machine.   My parents collected it for me, and brought it with them a month later when they came to visit.   It was summer, and too hot to make butter, so I put it in the utility room.  Then DH had his accident, time passed, and I had got into the habit of buying butter.

In Costco the other day I decided I'd better get on with it.  I bought cream, which I stuffed in the fridge.   I decidid that yesterday was going to be the day.

I unpacked the machine, washed it all, sterilised it all, watched the videos.    I put in my 4l of cream (I can only process about 1.5 - 2 litres a time in my Thermy), turned it on... and it didn't work.

DH sorted the fault out for me, and I tried again.

It did an excellent job of the initial churning and of course it was converting a lot more cream at once than I could otherwise do.     Big Tick.

The buttermilk drained off through the tap at the bottom.  Big Tick.

On to the washing step.  For the first batch, I used water from the tap (for the second batch, I'd put water in the freezer to chill).

The washing seemed to work really well.  Much less hassle than doing it by hand and spinning it.  I also didn't lose butter in the process, which was a bonus. Big Tick.

The butter was, however, a bit.... loose.    I don't know if this was the weather, or because I hadn't used chilled water,  or whether it was because water was being retained in the butter itself.    I hoiked the butter out and put it on a colander in a bowl in the fridge, and left it there while I made the second batch.

When the second batch was ready,  I started to salt the first.  Some water had drained off, but not a lot.   I salted it in the food mixer, and potted it.  Its all now in the freezer and in the fridge.

Cleaning up was really quick and easy, and there was a lot less collateral damage cleaning to be done as well.

I won't know whether it has a lot of water in, until I start using it.   If it does then I guess that I'll have to add in a step where I use Thermy to spin the water out  Or use Scotch Hands.  I have a pair, but find they make a lot of mess.

Even if I do have to put in an extra step,  it was a lot quicker and a lot less labour intensive than my normal production line. When I did it BC (Before Churn), I used to process 10 litres of double cream in a session,  1.5 to 2 litres at a time.       Next time I might go up to 12 litres of cream (3 batches).  Or I might stick at 8 litres and do it more often.

The machine is the Milky FJ10.

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