back country how to : le beurre

when winnie first arrived here --all of 4 days ago-- she was very thin. dairy cows are supposed to be thinner than beef. and beef is what we know. but winnie was Bony All Over. she was also stressed from the move. so that first night and that following sunday morning she gave us little milk with virtually no butterfat. BUT we have been putting meat on them bones! with fancy, plentiful hay, thanks to our generous landlord. in the past two days she's started giving us nearly 3 gallons of milk a day. and the cream lines are BEAUtiful. so naturally, i wanted to make butter as soon as. 

this is nearly the time to make butter. we are still on hay, in most places in this country. but we are so very close to fresh grass. and there is absolutely nothing more delicious than the butter made from cows on fresh spring grass. 

and since it is sadly very vermont spring (read, Cold and Wet) outside, i thought i'd share with you how to make butter...and duck my duties down at the barn for another hour or two. 

so, butter. 

you will need: 

cream, any amount ( i used 1 quart )
salt, to taste
small wooden paddle
clean empty jar for your butter 
immersion blender
strainer (not pictured)
large bowl (not picture either, BAD KATE)
wood cutting board


1. set cream out of fridge and bring to room temperature (65ºF); don't heat it up. allow this to happen naturally. if it is particularly cold in your kitchen, place near the woodstove or heat source. BUT monitor carefully. you don't want it to get too warm. i place the cream out first thing in the morning so it warms while i do my morning chores. 

2. make sure the vessel your cream is in as at least 1/2 empty space at the top, so you don't fly cream everywhere when you blend. i had to pour my quart of cream into a 1/2 gallon mason jar for more space. (first, i made sure to get cream all over the kitchen counter).

3. immersion blend. (patti! we love our bamix blender. thank you!!) for cream to become butter you need to aerate the cream. do this by pushing the immersion blender up and down, constantly, through the cream, bringing it just slightly out of the cream and then submerging again. this brings air through. blend on a high speed and continuously until your butter breaks. with a good blender and a quart of cream this takes only 5 minutes or so.

your cream will go through a whipped cream phase and then it will, rather suddenly, "break" into butter. you'll know this has happened when you see yellow clumpy butter and the separated buttermilk in your jar. 

4. strain the buttermilk out of the butter. jar up the buttermilk to use for biscuits or a cake in the next couple of days. or if trying to conserve waist line give to dog, pig, cat, or chickens. they will love it. 

5. place your wet butter on a clean cutting board over the sink and begin to paddle it. you want to work the butter constantly over itself into a ball. squeezing out all excess buttermilk. 

6. once you have paddled the crap out of your butter, give it a rinse in cold water to clarify it further. the less buttermilk left in the butter the longer it will keep in your pantry.

7. salt your butter to taste. not necessary, but i find it much more delicious. if you are using raw cream, this is helpful in preserving the butter. pasteurized cream doesn't require it. paddle the salt into the butter, spreading it evenly throughout. 

8. package the butter in a glass jar, label it with date. 

9. i needn't tell you how many ways to enjoy homemade butter. 


  1. I am SO excited to make this and spread it on some homemade bread. You truly bring back the joy in the little things, the complete and rewarding satisfaction of something made with one's own hands.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Kate.

    Butter. Yum. I have an old memory of making butter as an activity in kindergarten. I remember that big glass chun with the crank-top like it was yesterday. We sampled our results on saltine crackers. Heaven.

    You might enjoy this post (and others on the site) at Nordic Food Lab. A young friend of ours is working there now, though this isn't one of his articles:


  3. AMAZING - thank you!
    Had plans to make this weekend... and now I think I just may scrap my other recipe because this is so clear and easy! Mmmmm and I have some Easter Bread from Mom to enjoy it on! Glee.

  4. I've always wanted to make butter! I feel a kitchen project coming on...

  5. Really, nothing better than fresh butter made from fresh milk. Have you tried cultured butter? Double yum.

    Beautifully photographed.

  6. ohh! I've been wanting to make butter from scratch for so long! I've been hoping to find someone I could get some raw milk from but haven't had any luck yet!

    yours looks so tasty!

  7. Look at the beautiful color of your butter! I bet it will be even more yellow once she's eating up all that fresh green grass :) Pastured butter really can't be beat. Yum.

  8. I never thought I would say this but I am so excited to make my own butter now! What a lovely blog, really inspirational, quirky and down-to-earth. You seem like the nicest person, I wish you all the best with Nick and your adventures together.

  9. What's your method for separating off the cream from the milk? So happy to know you're all settling in and are already off and running (and milking!!). Keep the home dairying posts coming - I can't wait to need them for reference!

  10. @sophie, after the milk has been cooled (to 45 degrees in 45 minutes, we put ours in the freezer for 30) i let the milk stand in the fridge for just about a day. this gives enough time for all the cream to rise. then i just skim by pouring off MOST of the cream into a separate jar. leave some cream in the milk, so you have tasty milk too. i do this for several days until i have enough cream to warrant butter.

  11. Wow...
    Merci :-)

  12. I'm so happy for you, Kate! My husband and I love reading about your adventures - we hope we can make this a reality for ourselves some day too.

  13. This sounds amazing, i cant wait to try it out at the weekend.


  14. Kate, how do you manage to get such a lovely yellow color? Do you think it has to do with the freshness?

  15. Making this butter this weekend! Sounds amazing! Love reading your blog.


  16. I can't wait to try this! I'm going to make it tomorrow if I have time, to go with the homemade bread I'm baking. Yum! How long can you keep homemade butter around before it goes bad? Not that I think it will last that long in our home, but just wondering. ;)
    x Katherine

  17. @k.l.h.m so happy to hear you're going to try it! homemade butter has a shorter fridge life than commercial because it is harder to get all of the buttermilk out of the butter. that is why, i recommend salting it. helps it store a bit longer. but its never lasted longer than a week here, because we've eaten it so quickly!

    when i make more than i know we'll eat in a week, i freeze the extra butter. it will keep in the freezer forever!

  18. Thanks for your reply! I just set the cream out to warm to room temperature, and I've got dough rising for bread. So excited to pair these two treats together tonight. Yum!
    x Katherine


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