If you have seen enough History Channel documentaries, wandered through a Renaissance Faire, or been to a historical site with people reenacting daily life, you have probably watched someone churn butter. Making your own butter is no longer a necessity, but I wanted to see what I was missing.
Homemade butter is possibly the easiest food to make from scratch.
All you do is dump cream into a stand mixer, add a pinch of salt if desired, cover with a dishcloth to prevent splattering, turn the mixer on high and then settle back to watch bad TV for an hour. During commercial breaks, scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and, just when you are sick of the Kardashians, your butter will be done.
Or, if you are looking to offset some of the caloric intake of said butter, pour your cream into a clean jar and shake. This second method requires some positive thinking; I like to repeat “sundresses … Michelle Obama arms … no more gym membership” under my breath while shaking.
You may ask, why make butter in the first place? Does it save money? Does it taste better? Do my arms look more toned? You can answer all three the same -- maybe a little.
Butter is only a few cents cheaper to make. Lucerne butter is 37 cents per ounce; Lucerne cream is 22 cents per ounce.
If you were to take a bite of homemade butter versus store-bought butter, you might be able to detect a slight difference. The homemade butter should be lighter with a slightly airier texture, but the difference is negligible and you probably should not eat a spoonful of butter anyway.
Nor is homemade butter any healthier. I tried decreasing the fat content by using half-and-half instead of cream. But, one “Real Housewives” marathon later, there was almost nothing to show for all of my mixer’s hard work.
The next day, I had friends over for dinner. I mixed some minced cilantro, lime zest, salt and pepper into my homemade butter and served it with ears of corn. Someone commented on the flavored butter, and I casually remarked, “Thanks. I made it.”
“So, you softened some butter and mixed in the herbs?” they asked.
“No, I actually made the butter.”
Mouths dropped open, and I graciously accepted heaps of praise. People started calling me the butter goddess.
If you need some foodie points, make your own butter. Apparently it is extraordinarily impressive, and nobody needs to know how easy it is.