Milk separators are actually quite a pain to clean. Separators have so many parts to clean that it can be quite time consuming. So the easy way to remove the cream from the milk, is to let the fresh milk refrigerate overnight. And just so you know, if you are milking your own cow or goat, you will have plenty of milk for making butter as well as for your cheese making adventures. As the milk sets overnight, the cream will rise to the top of the milk. This is easy to see if you have placed the milk in a clear glass container or large jar. You will see the thicker, very pale yellow cream sitting on the top of the milk for the taking. The colour of the milk will have a bluish tinge underneath.
To remove the cream from the milk, simply take a ladle and skim off the cream being very careful not to dip too deeply and scoop up the milk. Once you have collected the cream into a clean jar, let the cream warm to room temperature. Warming the cream up a bit is a little secret we have found to getting your cream to turn into butter more quickly. Most of the time if you try to make butter with ice cold cream, the process will take quite a bit longer.
There is no specific amount of cream that you need to start with, just use whatever extra cream you have on hand. The only rule here is to make sure that the cream has plenty of room in the jar or container to slosh around, fill your jar or container about 2/3 full or so. Now after making sure the lid of the container or jar is on tightly, turn the jar on its side and begin sloshing the jar back and forth, in an end-to-end sort of fashion. Simply continue the sloshing motion until you have butter. This could take about 15 minutes to a couple of hours, sometimes it depends on the weather it seems, but most often you will have butter in 20 minutes.
If you have an electric mixer, blender, or food processor, you can make the butter in one of those instead of sloshing the cream around in a jar. Just set your machine to its lowest setting. Once when I had a huge amount of cream, I even used the new paint mixer I bought and attached it to my husband’s electric drill to make butter and put the cream in a large clean bucket.
The cream will first turn into whip cream and eventually butter. You will be able to tell that you have butter, when you see pale yellow or creamy-white lumps floating around on the surface. In the summer when the cow, goat, or sheep is eating fresh grass, the butter will be more yellow in color, whereas in the winter when the milking animals are eating hay, the butter will be more white.
When you see the butter floating at the top, ladle the butter lumps out into a clean bowl. The milky part that is left is called buttermilk. Many people enjoy drinking a fresh glass of buttermilk. I guess this would actually be called homemade sweet buttermilk, since it is not curdled or sour like store bought buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk into a clean container and refrigerate. This can be used in your baking or can be a refreshing drink for you or feed it to a pig if you have one, pigs just love buttermilk.
Now you can also make your own homemade sour buttermilk just by adding a teaspoon or so of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of plain milk. This will sour or curdle the milk. The larger the amount of plain milk that you want to sour, the more vinegar or lemon juice you will need to add. If you are using vinegar, white vinegar works the best. You will not find sour buttermilk a pleasant, refreshing drink. Homemade sour buttermilk is for baking only.
Here is how to wash butter once you have scooped it out. Begin by pouring very cold water over the butter. Using cold water is important here, otherwise you will end up melting the butter and losing it down the drain, oops. Now work the butter back and forth with your hands or use a butter paddle. The point here is to remove all of the buttermilk from the butter. If buttermilk is left in the butter, the butter will sour much more quickly. Continue pouring cold water over the butter and working it with your hands until the water is running clear and the water is no longer cloudy.
Work the butter for a bit longer with the water turned off, to remove the last of the water from the butter. Now sprinkle a teaspoon or so of salt over the butter and work in with your hands. Taste and add salt to suit your taste. Your butter is now ready to eat. Placing it in the fridge will keep it fresher longer. Or it can be place in the freezer for use way later when the cow is dry.
© Copying 2008-2010 All Rights Reserved Content & Photos By www.cheesemakingrecipe.com Joyann Mast