March 2, 2009

Butter and Butter Bell

We usually have lots of fresh goat milk around here for making any and all of our own farmstead dairy products. Especially back when I was milking 6 does. Those 6 does gave over 6 gallons a day. There was plenty of milk for everything from yogurt to cheeses to ice cream to supplying the entire extended family and a few friends with fresh milk to drink plus quite a bit left over. With that left over is when I started to make butter.
A quick overview on how to make butter…
You take some cream, whip it in a bowl for as long as it takes (around 8 or 9 minutes) to go from being liquid to whipped to curdled and then to butter. Drain the liquid (buttermilk) from the butter then kneaded the butter in a strainer until it is creamy and dense and you have squeezed most of the liquid out. Wella…homemade butter.
OK, I admit I am leaving out a few details of making butter when using goat milk, I will save all those details for another day.
We are very lucky to have a cow dairy just 3 miles away. When I began making butter I bought fresh cows milk from the dairy to practice the art of making butter. Why? Cows milk separates (cream rises to the top) itself. Goat milk does also but not as easily as cows. This is where those pesky little details I will share later of making goat milk butter came from.
But you can easily make butter too. Especially if you were to buy fresh cream from the grocer, local dairy or health food store.

Any hoo, so after you have fresh butter, you know that fresh anything from butter to bread will not keep as long as preservative laden foodstuff you buy at the grocer. Storing my fresh butter so it would not go rancid but yet be spreadable was problematic. I kept a small covered ramekin in the refrig of butter to use on a daily basis and froze the remainder. Like store bought stick butter it had to be left out at room temp to soften. Soured quickly.

Enter the butter bell or French butter crock.
The butter crock I have (above photo) is made of stoneware and holds the equivalent of one stick of butter for up to 30 days without requiring refrigeration. I pack the lid of the pot with butter. Then add enough water to the bottom of the pot to cover the lower edge of the lid. Now return the lid to the crock. The evaporation of the water keeps the butter cool. The water also creates a seal, keeping air out and your butter safe from spoiling. The water should be changed every 2 or 3 days and the crock kept out of direct heat or sunlight.

If by chance you are interested in reading more on making butter from goat milk and don't feel like waiting on me to explain the little details check this site out ...

A neat, thrifty cooking tip -if you buy stick butter at the grocer save the butter wrappers in a freezer baggie for buttering pans, etc.


Deb said...

I also use a butter bell and love it! Although I made butter from cows milk instead of goats milk.

I think they are the greatest of inventions.

Have a great day :)

City Mouse said...

I just love these things - a friend has one, and I thought it had a different name, but maybe not. They are awesome little things. Must get one. House goats - thanks for the update! Such awesome pics!!!!

Goody said...

Homemade butter never lasts long enough to go rancid around here, but the old timers insist that if you rinse the butter under cold water before storing it, it does something to preserve it. They probably mean cow's milk butter.

You would faint if you saw what goat butter sells for at the fancy grocer in Omaha.

Juli said...

I've used a butter bell for years and I love it :)