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Do-It-Yourself Butter with Bread

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Do-It-Yourself Butter with Bread

Do-It-Yourself Butter with Bread
Georgia Glynn Smith
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total prep
Butter is simply cream or milk that has been churned until the watery buttermilk separates from the butterfat, and this is easily done by pouring some room-temperature heavy cream into a jam jar and shaking it for a few minutes. The buttery fat coagulates into a handsome lump in the middle of a pool of watery buttermilk. The buttermilk is drained away, and the remaining butter is ready for use. It tastes a little creamier than normal butter because you won’t be able to extract quite as much buttermilk as the dairy can, but it’s still delicious. If the cream is cold from the fridge it will still work, but it’ll take a lot longer (10-15 minutes) and it will go through a disheartening whipped-cream stage that you may feel will never end!

Recipe from The Extraordinary Cookbook: How to Make Meals Your Friends Will Never Forget by Stefan Gates/Kyle Books, 2011.


  • 4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 6 medium-sized jam jars, very clean
  • fresh crusty bread and salt, to serve


  • Give everyone an empty jam jar and have them add heavy cream until each jar is one-third full, then replace the lid. Tell your friends to shake their jars until the butter solids have separated from the buttermilk, which should take about 2-4 minutes. You can tell when it’s ready because you’ll feel it thumping as you shake your jar.
  • When the butter has been churned to satisfaction, place a bowl in the middle of the table with a strainer sitting in it, lined with a clean dish towel or piece of muslin. Have your friends pour the contents of their jam jars onto the dish towel, and leave to drain for one minute. After the watery buttermilk has drained away, you’ll be left with butter. Take the dish towel by each of the four corners and bring them together over the bowl. Twist and squeeze to wring out any excess buttermilk.
  • Serve the freshly churned butter right away with some crusty bread -- homemade would obviously be a joy -- and some salt, for those who prefer salty butter.
  • Homemade butter will keep in the fridge for a week or so. It’s good for cooking but not for frying, since the slightly higher water content may make it spit and burn in a frying pan.