I Tried To Make Butter, Here's What Happened

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I’m a big fan of artisan food products. Call me a snob, but nothing gets me going like preciously packaged tomato bacon jam, crusty fresh bread, or cheese from a tiny little family dairy farm.

Knowing this, my best friend purchased me a butter-maker for my birthday last year. You might imagine a bespoke butter churn, that might be seen propped aside a chicken coop during settler times. In actuality, the device is handheld, and resembles a mason jar more than anything else.

Earlier this week, I was out grocery shopping for a simple dinner: Frittata with potatoes, feta, cherry tomatoes, and a baguette with a sweet corn summer salad. I decided I wanted to spice up the meal with something slightly special. It was the perfect excuse to use my butter maker for the very first time!

All you need to make butter is heavy cream (or so I thought…) so I grabbed some along with my other groceries and found my way home. Once I actually read the directions, it became clear that there was one more step that I hadn’t anticipated: You’re supposed to leave the cream out at room temperature for six to eight hours. Well, that simply wasn’t going to work for me; because I was hungry and I needed my butter.

Somewhere in the directions it specified that after shaking the cream until the butter separated, you must “drain the buttermilk” from the container. That was when I realized that I could potentially circumvent the step of allowing cream to temper for hours, and instead make the heavy cream into buttermilk! I’d read that you can do so by adding a teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of cream, so that’s what I did. I also stuck a cup of heavy cream in the microwave for 20 seconds, hoping to replicate whatever change was supposed to occur in the substance during its overnight out of the fridge.

After making my own buttermilk, I poured it into the butter maker. And I shook. I shook and shook and shook and shook. It was supposed to take three minutes! I shook for ten, to no avail. Eventually, I figured my efforts were for naught. But I had a second idea. I could simply whip the cream until it turned to butter! That’s a thing, right?

I don’t have a hand-mixer, but I do have a tiny food processor…which I thought could maybe do the trick. I ditched the buttermilk and opted for plain old heavy cream. I poured it in my food processor and crossed my fingers.

What happened, you ask? Liquid dairy everywhere. The food processor is, evidently, not meant for liquids, and my counter became covered with the sweet cream I had so desperately wanted to spread on an oven-warmed baguette.

Oh well. Store bought butter does the trick I suppose. Shortcuts don’t always work.