Monday, November 12, 2012

Home-made Cultured Butter!

I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself. OK, I'm a nerd, I admit it. Shoot me.

I made cultured butter that is every bit as good as the organic stuff from Quebec which I purchase at my specialty grocery for $6 a cup or so. I don't normally eat bread, but I had to toast a tiny mini-bagel just to try out this butter. It was scrumptious.

So, what's special about this butter and what makes it cultured? Surely anybody can beat up on some poor defenceless cream. To quote the inimitable Dorothy Parker, you can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think.
Ahem. I think I'm still a little giddy.

OK, so the cultured part comes from the lovely milk kefir grains I was enthusing about the other day. I put them in a jar with some local organic heavy cream and let them work their magic overnight. In the morning I found the most amazingly thick kefir you can imagine. I had to dig the grains out with a spoon, but they seem to have survived the experience.

I put this extra-thick kefir in a bowl, started up my trusty hand-mixer (for lack of a true churn ... maybe someday) and watched more magic unfold. It took a long time, and I had to stop to let the mixer motor cool down once or twice. But in the end, my cultured cream mysteriously separated itself into globs of beautiful yellow butter floating in buttermilk. I squished them together with my hands and put the whole thing in a bowl of ice water (brrr). Rinsing and massaging my butter into a malleable form, it took shape before my eyes. Such a beautiful thing.

Now looking for a good use for my cultured buttermilk ... I will probably make quark or some variant of creme fraiche. Other suggestions are welcome!


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