25 May 2014


The cream was overflowing the fridge, so I decided it was time to make butter.

I tried using the blender, as I’d read about online, but the butter didn’t form up as well as with the shaker jar and the noise was irritating, so I went back to the old strategy of just shaking the cream. I use one of The Reluctant Farmer’s protein shake jars – I take out the little spiral siphon thing that comes with it and instead drop in a small plastic ball from the toy room (well washed, believe me) because the butter sticks to all the little arms of the shaker’s insert and is too hard to get off, whereas I can just scrape the surface of the plastic ball with the spatula. Yes, I know you can get paddle churns, and I’d love one, but they are pretty expensive and the shaker jar was free.

I left the cream on the counter overnight to sour a smidgen, as the butter has a richer taste with slightly aged cream. Then, in batches, I shook it in the jar and poured off the buttermilk, scraped the butter into a bowl that went into the fridge while I did the next batch, and repeated. When I had all the cream made into butter, I added ice cubes to the bowl and smushed the butter back and forth with the spatula, working the buttermilk out, rinsing with water until it was clear. Sprinkled the whole thing with salt, worked it a bit more, then packed the butter into my grandfather’s antique butter press.

Clearly I didn’t pack it quite tight enough, as there’s a bit of a hole on the finished block, but this is really, really cool. I’ve never made enough butter before to fill the press – that’s nearly a pound of butter right there! From about a week’s worth of cream. Oh yes, I am a happy person. I will be making a lot of butter over the next few months I think! Butter stores well in the freezer, so it’s a good way to preserve the bounty of Sasha’s peak lactation.

The leftover buttermilk is going into the next batch of cheese – I am experimenting with that, as Carla Emery says you can use the buttermilk in cheesemaking, so hey, it’s worth a try! I’m also culturing with yogourt this time, just to see what happens … almost time to go add the rennet. Hopefully I do a better job cooking the curds on this cheese, my last one was a bit too moist when I was finished, I think.

Off to stir the milk!

Post script: My dad and my aunt have clarified the history of that butter mold. My great grandfather ran a creamery in Harrow, Ontario ... It burned down at one point but the churns and molds were at the house, not the creamery and so were spared. I found a record of the creamery in the archives ... from 1913. 

That makes this piece of butter making equipment a century old. 

I am carrying on a family tradition. How cool is that, eh?

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