Cream to butter to ghee and a few tasty by-products

So, butter first.

Butter is cream whipped until it separates into butter and buttermilk. It takes little effort. You can do a bit of it in a mason jar and shake by hand. This is a great “science” experiment with kids. Put some cream in a mason jar, put the lid on (tight!!), pass the jar with everyone shaking and pretty soon you have butter swimming in a bit of buttermilk.

I take the 21st century automated approach and use a food processor. It is not that the grocery does not have good butter, but we are fortunate to have a wonderful local dairy that supplies the grocery and since butter (and ghee) is so easy and the dairy does not make either of those, I’ve been making butter and ghee from the local stuff.

And it is fun!

There is actually one step before the cream goes into the food processor. I culture the cream which entails stirring 2 tablespoons of yogurt into the cream and letting it sit in a warm spot for 12-24 hours. The dairy does not make butter but they DO make yogurt – yea!

The food processor process is hands off for butter making: pour the cream in, fire it up and let it run. The cream first becomes “whipped cream” and then a few minutes more and the solid (butter) starts separating from the liquid (buttermilk). You don’t even have to be right there to know it is happening. The sound suddenly changes from a smooth mixing sound to a noisy thwap-thwap-thwap. Those splashes are from the buttermilk.

Pour off the buttermilk…

… and save it!

Next step is “wash the butter”. There is still some buttermilk in the butter, but 4-6 rinses with ice water and…

… Butter!

I let the butter sleep in the frig and make ghee in the morning because the small amount of solids left from making the ghee are wonderful on hot oatmeal.

The ghee making process is simple ( David Lebovitz’s ‘How to make clarified butter’ post ) and not all that photogenic.

But, the ghee – the ghee IS photogenic: beautiful golden ghee. Ghee is clarified butter cooked a bit longer for a deeper flavor and color. Both ghee and clarified butter are naturally shelf stable and they have a much higher smoke point than regular butter.

A quart of cream (32 fluid ounces or 95 ml) yields 1 cup of buttermilk, 8 ounces of ghee and a couple of spoonfuls of butter solids.

So, in my cupboard, is a fresh jar of ghee and with the buttermilk, I made:

Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot-Tahini muffin recipe made into a loaf (1/2 recipe) and also including raisins and walnuts.

Mel’s Kitchen Café Scone recipe . I didn’t have cinnamon chips so subbed orange zest and almond extract with some orange zest in the sugar-butter-topping.

Bear was out for the count and entirely unimpressed with all of this productivity.

Auggie thought we should come outside since the sun was out…

I had another cup of coffee and a scone!