Besides the occasional indulgence with the bread basket at a restaurant, I try to avoid eating butter. But sometimes you have to live a little. I decided that in order to enjoy this guilty pleasure at home, I'd have to work for it. 

Technically, it is very easy. You aerate cream until the milk solids begin to separate from the buttermilk, followed by straining it to reveal your freshly made butter.

I'd read about the mason jar technique where you shake vigorously for about 10 minutes and the butter will form inside. From there began my quest to independently produce this artery clogging staple. I woke up on Saturday and jumped out of bed. "Today is the day", I thought. Yes, the day I'd designated to make butter felt like Christmas morning.

Grinning from ear to ear, I poured my heavy cream into a large mason jar, screwed it tightly, and began to shake. I had set my timer for 10 minutes so I could know when I was getting close. After what felt like an eternity of shaking, my arms feeling like jello, I glanced at the timer. Just over a minute had passed.. I begged my boyfriend to take over so I could rest my arms for the finish. After laughing at me, he obliged. I got back in the game and shook for the remaining minutes. When the timer went off, I anxiously unscrewed the lid to find the heavy cream in the same state in which it was when I began. Instant disappointment.

After a few seconds of feeling like a failure had passed, persistence kicked in. I decided that it would be easier to whisk by hand until it separated. My determination must have put me in some sort of hypnotic state because the next 15 minutes of whisking effortlessly flew by. It wasn't until my arms went numb and the milk looked curdled that I realized I was done.

To answer the question you are probably thinking, yes, this can very easily be made in a mixer instead of intentionally putting your arms through agonizing pain. One could take 30 seconds to pour in the cream, flip the switch, and come back after doing something more productive to find perfectly separated milk fat. Though what started out as a modest endeavor to produce this (readily available) condiment turned into a test of determination and perseverance. My lesson from this was that the mason jar method does not work (for me anyway).

Whether you get to this point whisking by hand or in a stand mixer, I promise you a feeling of gratification when you strain the liquid and open the cheesecloth to reveal freshly made, creamy yellow butter.

I decided to enjoy the fruit of my labor slathered on a baguette with thinly sliced radish and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. To some, this may appear to be an odd mix, but to others, this trio is a familiar and classic French combination. An effortless (once the butter is already made), yet modestly satisfying dish. The creamy butter cuts the spiciness of the radish and the salt enhances the flavors.

If you own a stand mixer, I encourage you to try this incredibly easy method at home. If you decide to try this by hand, I can assuredly say that no one will possibly have the same satisfaction you will when enjoying your butter.


1 quart of organic heavy cream
1/2 tsp of good quality sea salt

Other tools-
whisk or mixer

Pull the cream out of the fridge at least one hour prior to come to room temperature.
Line a colander with cheesecloth and place in a large bowl.

Pour the cream into a mixer or large bowl and whisk until the butterfat begins to separate. This will go through stages. The cream will get thicker, go into soft-peaks, then firm-peaks, and lastly will begin to separate. Continue to whisk until you can see the buttermilk. It should look curdled.

Pour over the cheesecloth lined bowl and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Wrap the cheesecloth around and squeeze until most of the liquid is removed. Make sure to save the buttermilk for another use (pancakes, biscuits, or this buttermilk pizza crust).

Empty the butter into a clean bowl and pour over about 1/4 cup of cool water. Stir with a wooden spoon, then begin to press the butter on the side of the bowl. You will see the liquid being squeezed out. Pour out the liquid (the butter will easily stick to the side of the bowl while you pour) and continue this step 2 or 3 times until the liquid runs clear.

Stir in sea salt and do the squeezing method one more time to release any additional liquid.

Garlic and fresh herbs would also be a great addition your homemade butter. Roll in parchment paper and store in the fridge.

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