DIY Butter Fail
April 20, 2012 8:02 PM   Subscribe

I just tried to make my own butter and it looks like it was a total fail. Please perform an autopsy with me!

Bought a tub of double cream/heavy whipping cream (47% fat), using this recipe put it in a food processor, whizzed away for AGES and nothing happened...finally, instead of separating, the whole thing turned wet and yellow.

I think that because I used one of those hand bamix thingies with a processor attachment rather than a processor, the processor unit warmed up and melted the butter. That's what I'm assuming. Can you confirm that this is what happened?

Also, now I have what looks to be melted butter. What on earth can I do with it? Refrigerate? Save? Throw out?

Darn it!
posted by scuza to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, it sounds like your butterfat separated out as a liquid instead of a solid.

For what you can do with it? Chill it and see if it separates. If it doesn't, I'd use it to enrich a beschamel or mornay or some other sauce. If it does, you might have butter (or ghee?) anyway.

I've made butter by putting heavy cream (not whipping cream, that has additives that I think you want to avoid) into a sealed container with room to move around a bit (approx. 2/3 full) and just shaking the container a bit. A sealed mason jar is perfect for this sort of thing.

It does take a while (and a bit of work) to get butter out of the cream, and you have to smack it or press it to get all of the buttermilk out and form it together into the shape.
posted by gauche at 8:16 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did your heavy cream contain any stabilizers like carrageenan? Their job is to keep the cream - an emulsion - from separating into big globs of fat in watery whey. Most heavy cream at the supermarket is stabilized to extend its shelf life, and that may have been what messed up your butter-making process.

I'd refrigerate your melted-butter-looking stuff, and see if it turns into something resembling butter. Even if it looks weird you can use it to enrich sauces or soups, maybe even as a frying medium (like ghee).
posted by Quietgal at 10:30 PM on April 20, 2012


I have made butter by leaving glass-bottle heavy cream out of the fridge overnight. Then I put it into our Kitchaide mixer with the paddle attachment in the morning, whisking until the butter sticks to the paddle and all the buttermilk falls out into the bowl. The sour buttermilk is great with GF pancakes, and the butter gets a bit of sea salt. I have never used double cream.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:27 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


So OK it ended up as melted butter which I've been trying to use up before it goes off!

I've read everywhere to use "double cream" and the stuff I got was fancy and almost solid. The ingredients still said 47% fat and "cultures" though

I did a 2nd batch after with a carton of Paul's Pure Cream (much more liquid) and that worked a treat. I no longer feel a failure.

Thanks so much for your advice.
posted by scuza at 2:19 AM on April 21, 2012


I've done it with heavy cream and a handmixer: it took a while, but it got there. Like others say, you want the cream chilled; plus don't use an aluminum bowl, use a chilled glass or ceramic bowl (metal reactions and all that). Don't forget to rinse the remaining whey out of the butter with cold water when you're done, too!
posted by easily confused at 3:31 AM on April 21, 2012


The Standard of Identity for heavy cream (what you want to use) is here. I read this and do not see cultures as an allowed ingredient in heavy cream in the United States. I am wondering if what you purchased was what we call a fancifully named food. I would go back to the drawing board and buy "heavy cream" or "heavy whipping cream" at the store. Also, make sure it does not say homogenized on the package.
posted by catseatcheese at 6:06 AM on April 21, 2012


I'd be surprised if using a food processor is the best way to make butter. The old way was to churn it, which wasn't a quick beating but rather a kind of slow pounding/mixing.

When I was a kid, we used to make butter by putting heavy cream in a jar about 3x the size of the quantity of cream, and then shaking it. You didn't have to shake it hard, just holding it in your hand and twisting your forearm back and forth so the liquid sloshed from one end of the jar to the other quickly and regularly was enough. We'd often do this with other people around so you could pass the jar off to someone else after a while, because it does get tiring.

It took a while, but suddenly you'd end up with a lump of butter formed surrounded by the leftover liquid.
posted by hippybear at 7:13 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Standard of Identity for heavy cream (what you want to use) is here. I read this and do not see cultures as an allowed ingredient in heavy cream in the United States.

Cultured butter is made from cultured cream, so I really don't think the cultures would be a problem. Many people let their cream culture overnight before making butter, the acids help butter formation.

scuza, I think your butter was overheated by the food processor. Use a mixer or a jar and as long as your double cream is only milk products and cultures, it should be fine. Also make sure that your starting temp for the dairy is 65-70 degrees.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:16 AM on April 21, 2012


Arg, I meant 50-55 degrees. Not sure why I typed the above temperature.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2012


As Blazecock Pileon says, you've got to leave the cream out at room temperature for a while.

The problem you have? This is exactly the problem I have when I forget to do that. When I leave the cream on my counter for 24 hours, then I only have to shake it for 2–3 minutes and, bam crema. But if I have a spell of stupid and just try to shake cream, I can shake it for an hour and all I'll get is crappy whipped cream.

Leave out cream. Try again. It'll work.
posted by waldo at 9:01 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cultured butter is made from cultured cream, so I really don't think the cultures would be a problem. Many people let their cream culture overnight before making butter, the acids help butter formation.

Yes, you are correct that people do make cultured butter out of fermented cream. Just because the cream contains cultures does not mean that it is fermented. I can add all of the cultures I want to pasteurized cold milk or cream and if I keep it cold, the lactic acid bacteria will not start multiplying enough to create acid, and therefore, fermented cream.

What I was saying is that the cream that was purchased may not have been "heavy cream" which is what you would want to use for making butter.
posted by catseatcheese at 8:35 AM on April 22, 2012


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