Soooooooo butter… I love butter. And other fats. But butter tho… So when I saw this and then this Bon Appétit-recipe for cultured butter, the need for a butter experiment was born. I went and produced two types and had a butter tasting, which is how I’d like to spend every weekend, really.
Riiiiiiight, so I tried to make these two:
- Salted cultured butter from pasteurized organic cream + kefir
- Regular butter from raw (unpasturized) cream
Here’s the thing: pasturized basically means dead Cows eat luscious green grass in spring and hay (dry grass) in winter; a certain grass that grew in a certain environment with a certain climate. Their diet changes the taste and color of the milk > cream > butter, just like this is the case for grapes and wine, it’s the taste of their terroir. This terroir is erased when raw milk undergoes pasturization. This means that milk is being heated long / warm enough to kill bacteria… but of course this process doesn’t distinguish the bad bacteria from the good. So no matter which cow or grass your milk came from, you end up with Ikea milk.
I live in Ghent (Belgium) and can get my hands on raw cream from biological farms nearby (thanks Het Hinkelspel!).
Addendum: a friend pointed out to me that, when choosing your milk (cream) supplier, there’s also a difference between a ‘fermier’ and a ‘laitier’. The latter – like Het hinkelspel – actually collects milk from farms (so you get a mix of maybe slightly different terroirs) whereas suppliers in the first category own and milk their own cows (like the raw milk sold at Cru here in Ghent).
So, the process:
CULTURED BUTTER FROM PASTURIZED CREAM
This is the Bon Appétit method:
- 4 cups of pasteurized organic cream + 1/3 cup of kefir
- leave this 3 days at room temp (about 23°C), covered with something like cheese or nettle cloth so it can breathe but bugs stay out
- continue with the usual butter process (just watch the video):
- churn in a stand mixer until buttermilk (the watery substance) is separated from solids (the chunky fat parts), you’ll now it’s ready when it starts splashing all over your kitchen
- pour this through a cheese cloth that you lay down in a sieve and press out the buttermilk (you should obviously not throw this milk away… Google buttermilk pancakes)
- transfer the butter to a bowl with some ice cubes and further press out any liquids with a spatula
- Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes and further wash the butter by kneading it in the water with your hands. The liquids go bad more quickly than the solids do so this washing part is to further remove those and be able to keep your butter longer.
- Transfer butter to a bowl, optionally add salt ET VOILA, #BUTTER
- clean kitchen
BUTTER FROM RAW CREAM
This just follows the same steps described above – I used 1 liter of raw cream and immediately started the churning process.
And the results… It’s true what they say: pasturized means dead. Adding kefir definitely made the cultured butter more interesting but it doesn’t compare to the intensely creamy and somewhat grassy taste of the unpasturized butter, not to mention its beautiful yellow color and silky texture (the cultured butter’s texture was more flaky). The unpasturized buttermilk was also much more beige than its pasturised counterpart and you taste the terroir even more when you drink it than when you eat the butter.
Unpasturized beautiful yellow spring butter: shantay, you stay!
So now you’ve made butter five times as expensive as shop bought butter. You could start from cheaper raw milk of course but yeah.