The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I made homemade butter... it's toooo easy and the thanksgiving guests would love to watch this!

Jean-Paul's picture

I made homemade butter... it's toooo easy and the thanksgiving guests would love to watch this!

For thanksgiving we decided to make our own homemade butter. I found a recipe, and it's almost as easy as making icecubes. If you haven't tried it, definately give it a whirl... it's literally way too easy!

Ingredients: heavy cream, refridgerator cold (we found that 1 quart of cream will give you 12 oz of butter)

Process: Whip the heavy cream on high (kitchenaid/blender/etc) until it hits the stiff peaks stage. Then turn the blender/kitchenaid/etc down to low and wait to watch the magic. (If you have guests over for thanksgiving/dinner, this would be the time to get them to sit patiently and watch this!) After about 10 minutes the whipped cream begins to seperate and gets liquidy, then suddenly within literally 30-60 seconds it suddenly seperates fully into buttermilk and butter! Drain the liquid (save for buttermilk recipes), spread some of the butter on hot bread with a sprinkle of salt, store the butter in the fridge/freezer, voila la beurre!

Janknitz's picture

I made "cultured" butter for my birthday bread--oh my it was good. 

I added a few tablespoons of Greek style yogurt (from Trader Joe's--natural style yogurt without carageean gum or any other thickeners) to a half pint of heavy cream in a clean quart sized mason jar.  It's important for cultured butter that you use cream in it's natural state.  Read the carton to make sure that it's not UHT (ultra high temperature pasturization) or it will not work.  Whole Foods had the local creamery's organic cream on sale this past week--just simply pasturized--and it worked great.

This has to be "clabbered" by leaving it in a warm place overnight until it thickens.  Before "churning" I cooled it to 60 degrees or so in an ice bath.    Then, just start shaking the jar.  It took about 5-7 minutes of hard shaking (work off the calories in advance!).  First it becomes whipped cream, and then if you keep shaking it quite suddenly becomes liquid buttermilk and butter--you can feel and hear the changes in the jar.  Fun for kids but make sure they don't drop it or hit something with the glass jar while shaking. 

Pour off the buttermilk and knead the butter to press out the rest of the buttermilk (otherwise it will go bad).  I added 1/4 tsp kosher salt to this little bit of butter--about 2 oz but so rich it goes a long way.  We still have some in the fridge, but the rye bread I made has all been eaten. 

Daisy_A's picture

I did it like you Jan, just by shaking a jar about - it was such fun! I then pressed out the tiny bit of buttermilk and used it for something else.

I think I did the same as you and grabbed some cream when it was on offer. Scary thing was that on offer it wasn't much more than whole milk. 

Shaking the jar was the best fun, though, and seeing the liquid turn to butter before your eyes.

Taste was great. 

Best wishes, Daisy_A

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

Well thats it, I'm going to make me some butter for the holidays to compliment my tasty breads.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

When I was a young mother with five children (the oldest was 7 when the youngest was born) we were very short of money. This was in the 1960s.

My godmother had bought me a Kenwood mixer with a liquidiser to make baby food from the meals we ate.

We couldn't afford butter yet we loved it and hated the horrid margarine which was the option. In Those Days we had whole milk delivered to the doorstep, I got some free because I fed my babies properly, as nature intended. I'd put a bottle of milk in the liquidiser and whizz it for a few seconds, skim off the butter at the top and do it with the next bottle and so on. That way we had enough butter for all of us for the day.

It had to be strained (I used muslin in a sieve) and I added salt. It didn't need washing because it was used immediately.

And it was worth it.

It's only been fairly recently that cream has been available to buy, before now we had to strain off the cream from the milk. Now, when most milk sold is semi-skimmed or (horrors!) 100% skimmed there's an excess of cream which can be processed and packed to be sold. But you don't need to buy cream to make butter!


Janknitz's picture

Yeah, nowadays you aren't saving any money buy making butter.  Cream is expensive and t's hard to find whole milk that's not homogenized to skim the cream off of--this kind of milk tends to be organic and very expensive around here, even though were surrounded by dairyland. 

I guess cultured butter was common in "the old days" because instead of innoculating it with yogurt, people just kept collecting cream until they had enough to churn (usually several days or a week), and the cream stored over days cultured itself. 

The budget is tight this year, so I'm planning to gift some people with freshly baked bread in dollar store baskets and maybe with a bit of homemade cultured butter on the side if I can figure out a pretty way to package the butter.


proth5's picture

Ok - I wasn't gonna, but I love butter presentation.

Anyway, I have wooden buttter molds that I got from Lehman's.  Soak them in water, pack with butter, chill, invert and tap, and voila!

Of course that's some serious cash money (I'd lend them to you, really I would, but it seems like the prisoner exchange might be complex.)

I've packed soft butter into silicon ice cube molds (not too complicated) frozen it and voila!

Or packed butter into ramekins, pressed a design with a cookie mold (or not) - a little celophane or organza circle - put the ramekin on it, gathered it up, tied it with a bow (maybe pretty yarn) and voila!

I actually have a butter curler.  It is an inexpensive tool that makes - butter curls. Curl a few of those in to an inexpensive dish (or lined inexpensive basket) - see above for the cellophane wrap and voila!

Place the butter on sturdy plastic wrap or celophane, roll into a log (like you would with refrigerator cookies), tie the ends with string or yarn and - well, you know...

I have tiny little canning jars (really, they hold about one generous serving of jam) from Weck (you can order them directly from Weck Canning - type into your favorite search engine) - fill those with butter - clamp on the little glass lid - wrap or not and... (very classy - people go nuts over the tiny canning jar) (I also use these for canning jam - great for people who don't eat a lot of jam, but want it some times.  One serving and no jars hanging around the refrigerator.)

And someday try some Mesophilic-M as your culturing agent rather than yogurt if you are placing an order to your cheesemaking supply store.  You will not go back. 

Happy Churning!

Janknitz's picture

Never thought about ice cube trays.  I'd love butter molds, but not in the budget.  I'm going to have to haunt the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  I've had some good luck there, I think of something I want and viola! it appears. 

I'll have to try the Mesophilic M.  Good friends of ours own The Beverage People which has in store and mail order beer, wine, and cheese making supplies.  I'll have to go hunting through their cheese section.

ronhol's picture

I was talking with a friend tonight, and he mentioned that he was looking for European butter to make croissants, and could not find it.

Anyone know how to make it?

I'm assuming it's a higher fat content? Not sure what it is.



noonesperfect's picture

European style butter has a higher butterfat content - usually 2-3% higher.  You can find it in most grocery stores - KerryGold (Irish), Plugra (USA), Challenge (USA), Lurpak (Danish) and other brands are common. 



mrfrost's picture

In addition to it's lower moisture(higher fat), sometimes it may be cultured.

Lurpak is cultured. I believe KerryGold comes in both cultured and sweet. Of course the cultured is "tangy" compared to sweet.

Just be aware of which you want. Read the labels.


Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher


Are you up to date on this?

The French butter I use has only 80% fat. I'd be surprised if US butter had less - unless it claims to be 'low fat'.

If Lurpack is cultured I don't know why, it tastes like lard to me, whether salted or not, no tang at all  :-( 

I've never seen more than one variety) i.e. ripened or not) of Kerrygold.


mrfrost's picture

I am in the US, so I cannot speak to the products that one is purchasing in England, Europe, etc. And vice versa to someone in Europe about the products I purchase in the stores here in the US.

I responded to a post that I assumed to be from a US(or non European) resident about some European(styled) products marketed in the US.

Whether these products bear any resemblence to the products marketed by these companies in Europe, I don't know.

Lurpak Butter as sold in the US:

US KerryGold butter products:

Thank you.


Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I'm in Europe (England) and have no idea what European butter is.

We can get anything from unsalted to 3% salt (the legal limit), which is what I buy because it's what we like - it has sea salt crystals in it and although we don't use salt at the table we do enjoy the occasional 'burst' of salt flavour. That's made in Brittany, France, and is expensive. That's a personal observation though.

I use the salted butter in all my cooking and baking too, unsalted is often recommended but, to us, gives a flavourless, pappy result.

There used to be a difference between the way English and continental butter was made, one 'ripened' and the other not but I don't think that applies any longer.

Perhaps your friend should ask for the source of his information. Croissants are essentially French, some French butters could be unsalted but not all. There's an enormous range of European butter.


G-man's picture

We buy "European Style" butter as well, and we live in the northwestern US. The butter differs from regular butter in that it is cultured and, while I wouldn't use the word tangy, that isn't inappropriate. I would probably say cheesy instead. In any event it has only become relevant in recent years. Most supermarkets still don't carry this style of butter and we have to go to specialty or high-end stores to get it.


I guess it's kind of understandable that they wouldn't market this type of butter as "European Style" in European countries, since folks would know pretty much what they're going for and the brands that have the flavors they want. It seems to me that the companies that label their products as "European Style" tend to be US companies. Companies like Kerrygold or Smjor (Iceland) seem to just label their products according to where they are made.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Yes, packaging and presentation of butter IS fun.

Foe special occasions I often make a mould to match the occasion. It's easy to find a shape you like or make it in a mouldable medium then coat the shape (pattern) in meltable vinyl or even latex.

If you want a more detailed mould a dental medium is perfect but it's expensive.

When the mould is set it can be peeled off and used again and again.

I've used this method over decades for making my own candle moulds but for an historical food symposium which was about butter moulds it occurred to me that butter would work as well as beeswax, it doesn't need to be hot - in fact it's best if it can be just pressed into the mould and not heated at all.

The mould doesn't have to be soaked, after chilling it peels off and can be re-used immediately.


Janknitz's picture

Candy molds!  The local craft stores carry them.

Hmmmm. . . .

TuzaHu's picture

we did that as kids, put old half and half or cream in an empty peanut butter jar and just turn it, top to bottom again and again till it got thick, then turned into butter and buttermilk.  was like magic, nothing tasted so good as butter I had made.  It's fun to do with kids. 


if you have kids coming for T-giving why not have them make some magic and present the butter they made to the table?  Long after they forgot the family gathering they'll remember making butter for the rest of their life.



rossnroller's picture

On the continent, salted butter is not usual in my experience. I spent a year in Germany in the 80s,  during which I had only the unsalted locally available butter (which I think was Danish in origin). Once I got used to unsalted, I far preferred it.

Since then, I never have enjoyed the salted butter that is most common in the UK and Australia (and the States, it seems), and always seek out unsalted. I find the salt interferes with the flavour of the butter, rather than enhancing it. It takes time to become accustomed to unsalted butter if all you've had before is salted, but once you do, there's no going back IMO.

I must say, too, I found the continental butter superior to any other I'd tasted before, regardless of salt content - and that remains true to this day. But of course, YMMV...and regional influences being what they are, it's probable that there is plenty of non-Euro butter that is right up there. For example, by repute, New Zealand has wonderful butter (and dairy produce generally). Haven't been there or sampled Kiwi butter, so can't comment.


macZiggy's picture

I just tried this technique with the quart canning jar and some Whole Foods cream.  It works!!  I have UNBELIEVABLE butter.  It took, maybe 5 minutes of very vigorous shaking.  Then I squeezed the excess buttermilk out of it and now I'm sitting here with a piece of multigrain toast with the butter on it.  I'm amazed.  

Best butter I have ever tasted!

Thanks everyone for this thread!!!

Janknitz's picture

isn't it.  Too much fun!

Daisy_A's picture



macZiggy's picture

It's unbelievably easy and the taste is so fresh and sweet. What a surprise!  I will be making butter a lot.  Makes my breads taste even better!

RHjorth's picture

Washing of butter

The way of making butter and drain The butter is also calles virgin butter in some places, since it's fresh but have a short storage

What is used in europe and that might be what to expect As european butter is to washing the buttermilk out of the butter with water

Several times You add water after hav drained the buttermilk and churn a few times and disregard The water before trying again - havjing done this 5 times The butter are now regarded As clean and You now add 1.5% salt and churn again

You now have washed european butter that keeps in The refridgerator in several weeks

This Dan be done with normal and soured creeam, i prefer the latest

macZiggy's picture

Washing the "butter" after it forms seems very logical!  Thanks for the great directions!  I'll try your directions next!

All the butter I made today is already gone.  So sad!  Oops....have to make more very soon!!  :-)

Floydm's picture

Thanks for reminding me how easy this is to do.  I hadn't done this since I was in third grade, when we made an in-class Thanksgiving feast.  

My third grader and kindergartener made butter this afternoon in Mason jars to go with the potato bread I baked:

bread and butter

The kids had a blast and butter was delicious.  Thank you again!


misterrios's picture

So, almost all butters in Germany have at least 82% milkfat, which makes for a richer butter. Legally, though, for salted butter, the fat content can go down to 80% but not any lower.


In the US, the legal minimum is 80%, so even though many butters are produced at 82% milkfat, producers will often add something to bring down the percent and extend their profits. I can't find the source right now, though.

So, it's just a matter of what the law says, and extending profits, since I've never found any butter with a higher milkfat percentage in Germany.


Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

Simply put I have never even thought about making my own butter.  I have done it twice since Thanksgiving any everyone has raved about it and I simply love it.

I did the simple method of putting Heavy Cream in my stand mixer and just let it go to town (stopping now and then to scrap the sides of the bowl)

I do have a question though, would it be possible to put the salt into the cream before I start mixing?  Or would that mess it all up?

Floydm's picture

I believe it works fine to do that.  

I've also seen people post about adding herbs or garlic -- roasted first, so it is flavorful but mellow -- and mixing them in, which I want to try soon.  

If you try it, please let us know how it turns out.