How to make Butter (minus the carpal tunnel)

After a weekend church family retreat (which I may or may not refer back to as the Weekend Of My Uncooperative Children or WOMUC), I’m struggling to get back into the swing of things.

I was hoping that writing the long-awaited Butter instructions might kickstart things…buuuut it could also just be a form of procrastination. Maybe I should spend some time trying to figure out which is the real motivation…


Wha…? Yes! Head in the game!

So. BUTTER. Mmmm.

Why make butter? I do it for several reasons. The most important is the quality of butter available to buy versus the quality of cream. The best butter available to buy in a store is Organic Valley’s unsalted cultured butter. It’s organic, it’s got live enzymes; what’s not to love? Well, it’s not guaranteed to come from grass-fed cows. Cows, being ruminants, are made to eat grass (hence the four stomachs–like Rumpelstiltskins spinning grass into liquid gold). The flavor, color, and nutritional profile are affected by the cow’s diet (duh, right?)

Check your butter. If one of the listed ingredients is yellow color, you are being seriously cheated out of some of the most absorbable vitamin A you can eat. Yes, that’s the same vitamin that makes carrots orange. But, since it’s fat soluble, you need to eat fat alongside your carrots to do your eyes any good. Hence why butter is such a great source…if you can find naturally golden yellow butter.

The farm whence we get our  unpasteurized grass-fed cow milk (don’t harp at me about this if you don’t like it–I’m not pouring it down your throat, am I?) also sells their own butter. For about $15 per pound (4 sticks). Yikes! They also sell heavy cream for $13 per quart. But that quart yields 5 sticks PLUS almost a pint of excellent buttermilk. So it translates to roughly $3.75 per stick to buy butter from the farm versus about $2.25 per stick to buy cream and make it myself.

So if you’re as set on having raw grass-fed butter as me, making it is the way to go (let’s not even get into the scarcity factor…).

So, let’s get started.

Standing mixer with whisk attachment
Mesh strainer
Container for buttermilk
Plastic wrap or bag
Parchment paper
Butter mold (optional–for shaping, not the kind that grows on your food)


Cream goes in mixer bowl. Then you wrap the mixer in plastic wrap. I use a plastic bag as a tent so I can wash and reuse. I cut a hole in the top for the whisk attachment and then tied it on the bowl with string.

Mix on medium high until it looks like overbeaten whipped cream. It’ll look slightly curdled. Scrape down with the spatula.


Re-secure the plastic and crank that thing to high. You’ll know it’s done when it suddenly sounds very liquid-y and this happens:


Aren’t you glad for the plastic wrap??

Carefully take the plastic tent off of the mixer and strain the buttermilk into your container.


Now you can put the bowl and whisk back on the mixer and run it on low for about 10 to 15 seconds. This will help remove some more of the buttermilk trapped inside the butter.


Next the butter gets washed. Wrestle the butter ball off of the whisk. Fill the bowl with COLD water. Knead the butter gently, and then pour off the water. Repeat this a few times until the water runs clear.


At this point the butter is made. Now it’s just a matter of how you want to store it. You can pack it into a container and be done.

Or you can mold it into sticks.

Using the scale and parchment, measure off 4 oz. of butter.


I use a cheap plastic butter holder that I might have bought at The Container Store years ago. Gently work the butter inside the parchment into the container. Gently shut it to spread the butter as evenly as possible.


Then (most important step for molding), unwrap the butter and re-wrap it neatly. Otherwise you won’t be able to get the paper out once the butter is solidified in the fridge.


Notice the gorgeous golden color...

Repeat. Voila! Homemade butter is easier than you thought, right?


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One Response to How to make Butter (minus the carpal tunnel)

  1. Pingback: Sourdough Banana Bread Recipe AND Art in August. | Sourdough Lifestyle

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