Spiderboy had been run off all eight of his little feet during the September school holidays, so on the last Sunday, when I asked him, “So, shall we go out on the harbour on a ferry, or stay home and make butter from scratch?” it’s really no surprise he wanted to stay home and you know, potentially lick a bowl.
The idea for butter-making came to me while Spiderboy and I were reading his home reader. The story was about two kids who made butter by – wait for it – shaking a jar with cream in it – for a reeeaaally long time. Great school holiday project, I noted, but who has the time to shake a freakin’ jar for that long. What am I? Amish? There had to be an easier way.
So I googled “Making butter from scratch” and came upon this informative post on Not Quite Nigella, called “Made from scratch: Make your own butter.” NQN’s Lorraine uses an electric mixer, so it takes two minutes to turn cream into butter. It almost seems too simple to be true, but I’ve tried it and it really works. I used a hand-held electric beater and it still only took about two or three minutes. The instructions are all on Not Quite Nigella, but here are my pictures:
The day before I made butter, Spiderboy and I were in the supermarket. I was lingering in Chilled Dairy exploring my cream options, when a man suddenly appeared next to me. He was holding a pot of double cream. Was he the devil in disguise? “My name’s Kevin.” He extended his hand, so I duly shook it.
“Let me tell you about something really delicious,” Kevin/devil-in-disguise whispered. “You get a slice of white bread, and you butter it. Then you get some jam. Strawberry. Then you pour cream all over it. It’s delicious. it’s easy. Think about it next time the little fella wants a treat” he said, motioning to my son climbing all over the trolley.
“I’m not trying to pick you up,” Kevin/devil continued. “I just thought you might like to hear a good idea.” Have I got a sign on my back saying, “Got butter and cream? Talk to me!” I wondered.
The next day Spiderboy was quite excited about the butter project. After I’d done some housework and after we’d made Peppa Pig Cupcakes, I announced, “It’s time to make the butter!”
“No, I want to dress up as Superman and jump off my bunk bed.” he announced. Who am I to argue with the vagaries of five-year-old life. Here’s a picture:
Now that I had a moment’s pause, I thought I’d better google ” Heart Attack symptoms: women” before I made the butter. Well, you can never be too careful. I decided to go ahead with my fully-loaded full-fat DIY project, where the main ingredient was fat.
So there I was, whipping double cream, while waiting for Tina Arena to appear on Sunday’s repeat of Dancing with the Stars and tying to negotiate with Spiderboy over what he could watch on You Tube.
“Come on, I’m making the butter, I’m whipping the cream!” I informed Spiderboy, who was now glued to my iPad.
“I’m whipping the butter, do you want to see? Look! Whipping! Cream! It’s nearly butter! LOOK!”
“I’m just playing this game now Mum”.
“OK, but you’re going to miss seeing the cream turn to butter. Look, it’s happening!”
“Muuum, I’m playing this game now.”
“OKAAAAY… but I’m about to do more whipping so if you want to hear your game you’d better go out of the room for a minute…”
A minute later, I said, “Look at the butter I made!”
And then Spiderboy cried. ” I wanted to make the butter! I can’t believe you made butter without me!” he sniffled.
“Darling, I told you I was making the butter. Look, you can pat it with these spoons to squeeze the buttermilk out.”
Spiderboy calmed down and patted the golden butter between two big wooden spoons. Then a big blob fell onto the chair he was standing on. But it was only for three seconds so we picked it up and pretended it never happened.
“This is boring!” he declared after a bit more patting, and went to watch TV.
My butter was ready, but I just couldn’t eat it. I didn’t have any nice bread. I put my butter away, in the fridge on top of the Lurpak, a really delicious Danish butter. My butter will keep.
The next day I bought a fresh loaf of white sourdough. ” I’m too scared to try the butter, ” I said to Spiderboy. He agreed. And his favourite food is “Vegemite-toast-with-margarine-but-not-the-butter-melted.” (That’s how he asks for toast every single time. It’s endearing. No, really).
But I pushed through my fear and tried my butter anyway. I tasted the tiniest bit on the tip of my pinky. It was smooth, creamy and a little bit bland. The butter, not my pinky. I had added a pinch of salt to the cream before whipping but it probably could’ve done with some more. Then I spread a bit of butter on the bread, and had a few bites.
It was quite nice. I couldn’t quite believe I had made a supermarket staple from scratch, that it was actually a real thing, and edible. But since I had whipped the double cream myself, I could see the butter for what it really was – almost pure fat. And it was strangely off-putting. Even for me.
So I’m back onto the Lurpak. Somehow, I don’t think of the fat when the butter comes out of a tub that I buy in the supermarket. Completely illogical, I know.
Have you ever made anything from scratch? Did it live up to your expectations?