How To Make Homemade Cultured Butter

Feb 28, 2014 10:00 am

Velvety butter made for slathering in 6 steps

Photos: Francoise Villeneuve
Photos: Francoise Villeneuve
Cultured butter utilizes a touch of yogurt for a savory, spreadable treat you'll want to slather on everything.
 

Two studies over the past year have turned what we thought we knew about dairy fat on its head. They both showed that full-fat butter, cream and milk in your diet may actually help prevent obesity, since the fat makes you feel full. We tested different homemade butter methods, and here’s the easiest recipe for cultured butter out there. It’s great spread on your morning toast, or at dinner, topped with za'atar, lemon zest or smoked salt for a more varied bread basket. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pint organic heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons plain Icelandic skyr or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt (optional)
  • A stand mixer

First, combine the cream and yogurt in a clean, dry medium mixing bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 16 to 24 hours at 74˚F, then uncover the cream mixture. Don’t worry if it has formed a skin on top — that’s how it’s supposed to look. Using a spatula, carefully scrape all the contents of the bowl into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Now pay attention, this will only take a few minutes:

Whip the cream
Whip the cream til grainy

Begin whipping the mixture on the lowest setting. After a few minutes, it will look frothy. Keep whipping and you will reach soft peaks within 3 more minutes, this is when you can turn the speed up to low-medium. It should start to look grainy in 1-2 minutes. 

Keep beating until solids form
Keep beating until solids form

When the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed down to low. The solids will come together and buttermilk will start to pool, so beware splashes. You're done when the butter has come together and quite a bit of buttermilk has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. 

Drain, rinse and press
Drain, rinse and press

Drain the butter in a sieve into a bowl to catch the buttermilk. Filter and store in an airtight container for up to a week. Rinse butter in the sieve under very cold water, using a flexible spatula to turn the butter over. Press the spatula against the butter until the liquid runs clear. Transfer butter to a clean bowl, add the salt.

Wrap in plastic wrap
Wrap in plastic wrap

Cut a large rectangle of plastic wrap and lay it out on your kitchen counter. Put the washed butter in the center of the rectangle. Take 2 corners of one of the long sides of the rectangle and fold it over until it just covers the butter.

Form a tight seal
Form a tight seal

Carefully form the butter into a log through the plastic wrap, then roll it into a cylinder. You can use a long ruler to make sure the edge is straight as you roll. It should look like a wrapped candy. If you continue to roll, the ends should curl in on themselves to form a tight seal around the butter.

Pop the bubbles and store
Pop the bubbles and store

You may see some air bubbles or pockets of pale liquid in the cylinder. Gently pop these using a skewer, then dry the outside of the cylinder. Wrap the whole thing with one more layer of plastic wrap, and label with the date. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The butter is now ready!

Expert tip: When you store the butter, whether you are freezing it or keeping it in the fridge, make sure you keep it airtight, since dairy absorbs other flavors really easily.

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