It’s been a busy week here at Alledal; the cream separator has been out and used a couple of times. I can see it’s going to be one of those essential items as turning goat’s milk into cream without one is next to impossible. The cream in many ways is far more useful to us than the raw milk. I could easily be cheese making twice a week and we could never get through that much cheese no matter how good it tasted. Cream is a different matter. We use lots of it as well as crème fraîche and butter and cream cheese… the list is endless.
This week the majority of the cream has been used for ice cream. The good weather has continued and it’s been lovely to enjoy a bowl of fresh homemade ice-cream after dinner.
It’s butter however that I really wanted to give a go. I knew in theory how it was done but I’d never done it in practice so this was to be an adventure into the unknown. I may do a photo project on butter making soon, or if I get to grips with i-movie maybe even a v-log, but for now you’ll have to make do with a plain old-fashioned blog entry.
All you really need to make butter is cream, a little salt and time. It can be done by hand just by shaking the cream in a jar but as this can take between thirty minutes and an hour I believe this is best left to the young and the fit. I prefer the less energetic way by using another of those kitchen stalwarts – the kitchenaid stand mixer. I’ve seen people say that you should use the k-beater tool rather than the whisk as the whisk can get clogged up. I have to say that this has not been my experience. So certainly for the early stages I say go for the whisk.
I started off with one litre of cream at room temperature; place this in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk, starting at a fairly low speed unless you wish to be covered in the aforementioned cream. As the cream thickens you can increase the speed. It’s advisable to have a clean tea-towel handy as this method can splash a little and you can use it to cover the bowl later.
Just keep whisking the cream past the whipped cream stage, after about twenty minutes the cream will split and start to separate into solid [the butter] and liquids [the buttermilk] keep whisking slowly for the process to complete.
Then using a spatula push the butter to one side and drain off the buttermilk. Don’t discard it though, it makes wonderful pancakes and muffins. The butter needs to be rinsed now to remove what’s left of the buttermilk. If this isn’t done properly the buttermilk will cause the butter to spoil. The butter can be rinsed over a sink in a colander lined with cheesecloth, but I cleaned mine in the kitchenaid, though it was easier to use the k-beater for this step. Add a little iced water to the bowl containing the butter, cover with the tea towel and beat. Drain off the liquid and repeat the step until the liquid is clear. If you want to salt your butter add it at this stage. I used about one teaspoon in around 450g of butter, which worked quite well. Simply sprinkle the salt over the butter in the bowl and mix in using the k-beater. As Goat’s milk is pure white unlike cow’s milk, the butter made is also white and looks a little like lard. This can be off putting to some, though the taste is exactly the same. If you prefer a coloured butter a few drops of annatto can be used at this stage.
Remove the butter from the bowl onto a wooden board; I used a sterilised breadboard. The butter now needs to be ‘worked’. The purpose of this is to remove the moisture from the butter. The best tools for working the butter are a pair of Scotch Hands, you will also need a muslin cloth to dry the butter with.
With the Scotch Hands press the butter flat against the board pausing to dry the drops of moisture that appear with the cloth. The butter is then rolled up into a Swiss Roll shape and pressed out again. This step is repeated until no drops of moisture are seen.
The butter can now be shaped into a pat before putting in a dish or wrapping in greaseproof paper – it’s as simple as that.
I think I’d like to get an old fashioned wooden butter mould, but they are the kind of thing that seem to be found only in antique shops these days, but I think it could give the butter a unique look. I guess I’ll have to peruse the antique shops in the village or failing that eBay to see if I can find anything suitable.