“Betty bought some butter but the butter was bitter so Betty bought some better butter to make the bitter butter better butter.”
This was one of my favourite tongue twisters as a child. And now as an adult, making butter is one of my favourite activities.
Like many other things, I learned how to make butter from my grandmother Shanta. I diligently collect the cream from the boiled and chilled milk from a local farm each night, mixing in a little fresh yogurt to prevent the cream from turning bitter. And when the container is full, which takes about 12 to 15 days for a litre of milk (a week for 2 liters of milk), I store it in the freezer for a few days if I’m not planning to make butter immediately and then thaw the cream by leaving it on the counter for a couple of hours or in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.
It is such a joy to watch the cream turn into butter in a mixer or blender and my heart literally sings with joy when I witness this miracle. Although collecting cream from milk, mixing in the yogurt and churning the cream into butter are all seemingly mundane activities, the end result is nothing short of miraculous!
Washing the freshly churned butter in clean water is a very important tip, I learned from my grandmother. When butter is washed it retains the freshness, apart from getting rid of any stale smell if any.
Fresh butter has many uses and is a treat by itself. Cakes taste wonderful when made with fresh butter and when served with idlis, dosas, parathas and other snacks, the butter elevates these dishes by several notches.
Earlier, when I made butter, I divided the butter into two batches, one for making ghee and one for consumption as it is, as Hari loved fresh butter. These days, I make ghee out of all the butter I make.
According to Ayurveda, butter balances vata and pitta, enhances taste and digestion and is nourishing to the body. It is said in Bhojana Kutuhalam, an ancient treatise that butter is good for eyes, voice, skin health, for alleviating aches and pains and increasing strength.
Fresh butter is an important part of breakfasts and other meals in my parents and in laws homes and savouring the butter with the freshly made food is an experience by itself.
If you are one of those who loves butter but are shying away from consuming it, you can be assured that a little butter consumed at breakfast or lunch coupled with good exercise should do wonders for your soul.
Homemade Butter Recipe
Raw milk (preferably A2 or desi cow milk)
Fresh homemade yogurt
In the morning, heat the milk until it comes to a boil, and turn off the heat. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate the container.
In the night or after 6 to 8 hours, separate the cream from the milk using a strainer or a slotted spoon and place it in a container with a lid. Add a spoon of yogurt, mix well, cover and place in the refrigerator. Repeat this procedure for 12 to 15 days or until the container is full.
If you plan to make butter immediately, proceed to the next step or else, place this container in a freezer for upto 3 to 4 weeks. If you have placed it in the freezer, leave it on the kitchen counter for 2 to 3 hours or 8 to 10 hours in the refrigerator until the cream is thawed.
When the cream is still very cold, place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or any other regular mixer. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and process until butter is separated from the milk.
Place the butter in a clean bowl and gently add water over it. Wash it once or twice and then use as required.
Making this in a stand mixer, keeps the hands free but takes longer.
Washing the butter makes the butter fresh.
Adding yogurt to the cream prevents it from turning bitter.
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