Hand Shaken Butter

by autumn on September 3, 2010

In my high school biology class we took water samples from the creek outside our school and tested them for pollution. Not my kind of science. Shaking heavy cream until butter emerges: my kind of science. I love the idea of making your own butter, an inspiration I got from the lovely Jane. It’s a treat and a lesson. You get butter and you get to learn a little about what butter really is. (Besides a lethal weapon.)

No, you probably won’t do this every week instead of buying it in the store. Yeah, I said every week. Every once in a while though, you’ll want an apron, you’ll want a big ol’ jar, and you’ll want to shake your ass and make some butter. It’s a two-word recipe, kids: shake it. Because I’m that girl, I took pictures of what it will look like when it’s done. I’ll tell you how to get there.

I poured a pint (2 cups) of room temperature cream into an 8 cup container. This container to cream ratio isn’t absolutely essential, but keep in mind before the cream becomes butter it will become whipped cream and increase in volume. Make sure the lid to your container is secure and start shaking. You could put on some music if you wanted. I was going for a little zen thing so I kept it quiet.

First, you’ll have whipped cream. It will fill the container and make you feel like you aren’t shaking hard enough. Keep shaking. Next, you’ll start hearing stuff mucking around inside. This is the fat beginning to separate from the liquid part of the milk. KEEP SHAKING. You’re done when the butter has come together and looks like a blob of butter should. I found differing opinions online about how long this ought to take. Mine took about 12 minutes.

Remove the butter from the buttermilk. You can discard the buttermilk or use it to bake (so I’ve heard), but this is not the cultured buttermilk you’re used to. As well as you can, rinse the liquid buttermilk off of the solid butter (the buttermilk spoils faster). I found this to be a tricky endeavor. I put the butter in a mesh strainer and ran it under the faucet, sort of gently pressing it around to get off as much of the liquid as possible. Do what you can. I would also store this in the fridge and use it a little quicker than you would normal butter.

Finally, because I like you, I’ll tell you that I added 1t chopped, dried lavender and 2t honey to half of my butter to make lavender honey butter. You could also make basil butter, just like you know who.

I’m not the only one crazy enough to make butter:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paige September 5, 2010 at 3:37 am

Um….YUM!!! This looks amazing. And as luck would have it, I have a boatload of lavender in my backyard, and a friend’s local honey! I think I know what I’ll be doing on Labor Day! Great recipe!


2 autumn September 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Thanks, Paige! I also happened to have some lavender and honey on hand (leftover from making lavender honey ice cream… yum).


3 Carol@easytobeglutenfree June 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Wow, what a blast from the past this was for me! We used to do this in girl scouts. It was fun things like this that got me hooked on cooking at an early age.


4 autumn June 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

Thanks Carol! I don’t remember ever doing this in girl scouts, but a friend of mine told me that she did. It’s so much fun, even for me now as an adult 🙂


5 krissy burke November 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. The butter cannot be squished in the mesh it just makes a huge mess and I have to try to scrap it off of the cheese cloth. The butter keeps coming out like butter that has been left out on the counter all day. How do I fix this???


6 autumn December 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Sorry it didn’t work out, Krissy. Like I said, it’s a bit tricky. Using very cold tap water will help. You don’t want to push it through, just move it around in order to rinse it as best as you cam. I hope this helps!


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