How to churn your own Butter and make Buttermilk – Back to Basics

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Homemade soda bread and butter at the ready!

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Not wanting to let any food go to waste I realised I had a pot of double cream sitting in the fridge almost ready to be thrown away. So what to do with left over cream?? Why not teach myself how to churn butter at home?

Bread and butter. The perfect combination

Bread and butter. The perfect combination

Having a kitchenaid stand mixer makes this so easy, however I know you can make your own butter by sloshing cream around in a jar too. One guy attached a sealed jar of cream to his very active toddlers back and as the child frolicked he churned butter as he went. Now that’s multi tasking.

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I didn’t employ any small children in the making of this butter. Rather I set my kitchenaid to work for less than 20 minutes and produced a patty of butter and a bowl of buttermilk. Magic.

There’s 6 clear stages in the butter development which is quite exciting to watch.  Starting with 350ml of double (or heavy) cream just whack it in your mixer with the beater attachment and let it go.

Double cream at the ready

Double cream at the ready

As it’s quite liquid to start with I gradually increased the speed working my way up to high and left it running whilst I made myself a cup of tea and treat Super Hans to a dollop of leftover cream. I could then marvel at the wonder of butter making, stopping only to sip my tea and take photos.

If you start off too high the liquid will escape from the bowl and not end up in your butter. I want to maximise my butter intake so slow and steady it goes. The cream will thicken as it fluffs up with air.

Stage 1: Bubbly Cream

Stage 1: Bubbly Cream

Stage 1. White bubbly cream.

Whipped cream! Keep going

Whipped cream! Keep going

Stage 2. Thick whipped cream. Delicious on scones but not what we’re looking for.

Not quite ready... starting to become yellow and thick

Not quite ready… starting to become yellow and thick

Stage 3. It’s getting exciting. The cream takes on a yellow hue and is very thick.

Starting to separate into butter and milk

Starting to separate into butter and milk

Stage 4. It starts to look a bit scrambled as the cream begins to separate into butter and milk. Don’t worry it’s meant to look a bit grainy!

Ready!

Ready! We have Butter!

Stage 5. WE HAVE BUTTER! And a beautiful buttermilk by product.  It separates fully into a lump of butter sloshing around the bowl with buttermilk. Take it easy at this stage as you’ll lose the precious buttermilk if you beat the butter too vigorously.  Once the butter comes together in a patty it’s ready to drain.

Squish out the excess buttermilk

Squish out the excess buttermilk

Stage 6. Drain the buttermilk out of the bowl and save it for later. (This is a triumph. I’ve not been able to find real buttermilk in the shops so now I have genuine buttermilk to work with and make proper Soda Bread!) Squish the butter by hand to remove the excess milk and hey presto your butter is ready. You can also leave it drain in a sieve over a bowl.

And as if by magic we have Butter and Buttermilk

And as if by magic we have Butter and Buttermilk

Stage 7. Roll into a nice patty shape inside some greaseproof paper and pop it in the fridge to set. You could add flavourings at this stage too if you fancy, herbs, garlic, salt. As I’m going to use this in a pie crust I’m keeping mine pure and simple.

Butter me up

Butter me up

Before even starting the washing up I calculated the ratio of flour needed for the amount of buttermilk I had made (162ml of buttermilk to be exact) to whip up a quick soda bread!

Butter patty at the ready with Soda Bread for the oven

Butter patty at the ready with Soda Bread for the oven

I just threw all the flour back into the mixing bowl and made a half size loaf. I guessed just under half the amount of flour was needed. Now we have a full on snack from one pot of cream that was just going to be thrown in the bin. Using every single bit of the ingredient so nothing goes to waste. Economical and environmentally friendly baking. Now that’s my kind of cooking.

Homemade butter and soda bread!

Homemade butter and soda bread!

Things I used to make my butter

  • 350ml double or heavy cream (any amount would do, but the more cream you have the greater the amount of butter you will make with better value for your time and electricity bill…)
  • Kitchenaid (or you could shake it up in a jar or use a hand whisk if you’re feeling energetic)
  • You coud add herbs, garlic or salt to flavour your butter)

After 20 minutes of beating I made

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26. The 10 Minute Irish Soda Bread Challenge – Ireland

Soda Bread

I’ve heard pretty good things about soda bread but never have I attempted to make it myself. I discovered a recipe from Ballymaloe House in Ireland, in my food processor cookbook that appeared to be very straight forward. Promising to only require 10 minutes preparation and 40 minutes cooking! I took on the 10 minute soda bread challenge and set to work.

This was actually very quick and dare I say it… Easy to bake! With very little kneading or washing up required. Hurrah!!

I literally whacked everything in the food processor…

  • 450g of plain flour (not bread or strong flour)
  • 500g of plain live (active/cultured) yoghurt (or alternatively you can use 350-425ml of buttermilk)
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • A glug of double cream (just because I needed to use it up)

… and set it to high for a couple of minutes using the dough hook attachment. You could use a bowl and a spoon or even just your hands to combine it all together into a runny, floury mixture.

Once it all comes together the challenge is to remove the sticky mess from the bowl in one swoop and not get coated in runny flour mess. I failed on this count and had to deploy a spatula to encourage the mix out of the bowl.

I tipped it out onto a lightly floured surface (also known as my glass worktop protector thing). Adding more plain flour to the board until I could bring the dough together without it adhering to my hands.

Once it starts to take shape all it needs is some encouragement, folding and lightly kneading the edges into the middle to form a round dough shape about 4 cm deep.

Flattened circle

I greased and floured a flat baking sheet and plopped the smooth circle of dough (folded edge down) onto the sheet.

Challenge complete in less than 10 minutes!! Taking my sharpest knife I cut a shallow cross into the top of the loaf and teased the edges out slightly so the cross was more defined. The cross helps the heat penetrate the loaf and cook evenly throughout. Irish folklore also says that that the cross lets the evil spirits out. Good to know.

Criss Cross

Into the oven it went for 10 minutes at 230 degrees c. (gas mark 8). While the oven was heating up I popped a roasting pan in the bottom to get really hot. Then just before shutting the oven door I threw a cup of cold water into the pan to create some steam and a soft crust on the bread. Perfect! (I love this tip – thank you Holly Bell)

After 10 minutes I turned the oven down to 200degrees C (gas mark6) and baked for 30 more minutes until the crust was golden brown and the loaf sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Risen

What a result!! I was astounded that a yeast free bread rose so much! It doubled in size and didn’t need any proving or strenuous kneading either! Amazing result for so little effort. It smelt amazing and tasted a bit like a cake too. What could be better than a bread/cake hybrid?!

One hunk of Soda Bread

We ate this for breakfast one weekend and I loved it. I could happily eat it without any butter as it’s so moist, but I did put nutella on it (it was Saturday after all). This loaf should serve 4 and is best eaten fresh which is a good thing as I devoured a quarter of the loaf chunk in one sitting.

with lashings of Nutella?

I loved it so much I made it again however I was obviously a bit complacent after my initial success. I used plain yoghurt which wasn’t active but a little past it’s best, assuming this would mean it had grown some cultures. I guessed wrong as this time it didn’t expand as impressively and I was a little disappointed by its lack of height. I will be baking it again but following the recipe properly next time! If you haven’t baked it before I really recommend it! And please let me know how you get on!

The slightly deflated second attempt…

*Recipe taken from Kenwood Creative Food Processor Cooking Book, by Becky Johnson. Thanks!

Irish Soda Bread

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