We started getting milk at our local dairy. And actually, we buy raw milk. Unpasteurized, non-homogenized. There are lots of health reasons for doing this, but I won’t get into them now. (In some states, raw milk is illegal. Which is sad. Lots of health benefits can be obtained by drinking raw milk.)
Whatever the case, if you want to make butter, you’ve got to find a source for non-homogenized milk. The stuff from the store won’t have the cream. Alternatively, you could buy heavy cream and make butter. 2 cups of cream yields about 1/2 cup of butter, plus some buttermilk.
Step 1: Let the milk sit for at least 12 hours. Then skim the cream. You should be able to get about a cup of cream per half-gallon of milk. I use a measuring cup to get the cream from the wide-mouth jars.
If you don’t get your milk in a wide-mouthed bottle, you can use a turkey baster to collect the cream.
Step 2: Let your cream warm to room temperature. Don’t try to start mixing until it is warm! I had two fails prior to my butter-making, and I believe the fails occurred because the cream was too cold.
Step 3: Beat the cream in your mixer! I tried the blender, but I think it became too warm. A friend of mine also shook hers in a jar to make butter, but I didn’t have a jar that sealed well enough!
The cream will become frothy and grow a bit as you mix. This will take about 10-15 minutes. FYI, you can stop and check the progress at any time. You will not ruin the butter-making process by stopping the mixer.
This is the frothy stage:
Next, your cream will start to get a little clingy.
Then it will start looking like butter.
But it will have all this watery stuff around it. That is buttermilk. Just keep beating.
I kept beating until almost all the butter was clinging to the beater.
I then removed the beater and placed the butter into a sieve.
I poured the buttermilk through the sieve to strain out any bits of butter that were floating around. Save the buttermilk for baking muffins or biscuits. (The buttermilk will smell sour after a few days, but you can still use it. That's the point. It's soured milk. Now you can make these muffins without having to add vinegar to the milk!)
Step 4: Rinse the butter. With water. You want to remove all of the buttermilk that you can. You can keep the butter much fresher by removing as much remaining buttermilk as possible.
Step 5: Press the buttermilk out of the butter. Don’t press it through the sieve, like I did the first time. Oops. I just squeezed it as much as possible.
You’ll be left with your fresh butter!