Using the book It’s In The Bag, by Michelle Snow, and my blender, I just finished turning 5 cups of pasteurized heavy cream into about three cups of butter. It turns out that real buttermilk is just milk with a little extra fat in it and, if you don’t add salt to your cream before you blenderize it, tastes just like regular milk. Plus, when you’re finished with it, you have work it with a wooden spoon or a rubber scraper to press out all the little pockets of buttermilk trapped inside the milk. After a while, given that butter has a relatively low melting point, I had to refrigerate it so that I’d be able to work it again later. I’d have made more, except that my ever experimenting son decided that he wanted to drink the remaining 3 cups of cream, which apparently tastes really good. Honestly, though, I wish I’d been allowed to finish turning the cream into butter. I didn’t do the whole two quarts because I wasn’t sure I had a container big enough to store it in.
Cultured buttermilk, which is the kind you get at the store, actually tastes rather sour, for those of you who’ve never tasted it. How they make that is that they infect a vat of milk with specialized bacteria. My daughter came up with a joke about that. She says that you make cultured buttermilk by sneezing into a vat of milk.
Anyway, making butter is fairly simple. You start with about a quart of heavy cream and however much salt you want (I added about a teaspoon to mine). You can put both the cream and the salt into the blender, or the food processor, at the same time or you can just blend the cream and add the salt afterward. One way or the other, if you choose to use the blender, it works best if you have a milk shake attachment, because it’s hard to get the butter out from under the blades when you use a regular blender blade. Put your blender cap on and then turn it up to its highest setting. Watch the bottom. At first, the cream will turn into whipped cream. Keep processing it. Eventually, toward the bottom of the blender jar, you’ll start to see some white mixed with yellow. Keep going. Eventually, all the whipped cream will have descended into the blender blade and you’ll have a large lump of yellow butter floating in a sea of “light milk” or butter milk. If you salted it beforehand, you’ll find that the buttermilk actually tastes pretty rich, otherwise it just tastes like regular milk.
I haven’t finished working with mine, yet. However, I intend to rinse the lump of butter in cold water before I begin working it again.