Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The List + Butter Making 101

* turkey: check
 (Two fourteen pounders instead of one 20-odd pounder, because the price worked out better, and because, even though we have a light crew this year, we LOVE us some leftover turkey!)

* potatoes:  check
 (Russet, ten pound bag.)

* green beans check
 (To be made Grandmom style, with a little butter and a dab of beef bouillon added.)

* creamed corn:  check
(Canned, because it's not wildly popular enough to take the time and trouble of "scratch.")

* bread and vegges for stuffing: not quite
(Got bread and onions, but I need to get some more celery.)

* plenty of flour and yeast for rolls: check

* home-churned butter:  check
(The kiddos are really excited about this one; it's a special treat for Thanksgiving this year. See below!)

* Cranberry sauce: check
(Jellied and out of the can because every year I make it from scratch, nobody eats it but me.)

* Sweet potatoes and marshmallows for Fluff: check
(Because some people think Thanksgiving is all about the sweet potato fluff.)

* Spiced apple rings and cream cheese for apple ring treats: not yet
(Can't find the jarred apple rings here on the western slope, so we're making our own today.)

* Pie crusts: check
(Because when you make more than two or three, it's just way too time consuming to roll them all out.)

* Filling ingredients for French silk, pumpkin, apple, butterfinger, and blueberry pies: check
(No more than six this year for goodness sake! We don't have that many people -- and Jon, the pie making machine isn't here... Though he is apparently being utilized by the seminary to supply a Thanksgiving bake sale.)

* All the towels and wascloths washed:  almost
(One more load -- Important because we go through them unbelievably quickly with even only a couple extra teenagers home.)

* Beds and bedding ready for extra bodies:  almost
(Still have to get up in the attic and unpack a couple extra pillows and maybe one blanket)

* Kevin, Michelle, Omar, and Aunt Nina:  On their way!
(Should be here in time for 7:00 Adult Doctrine Class with Fr. Bernard tonight and to help with pies tomorrow!)

Churning Butter 101:

First, add room temperature cream to your butter churn  -- double cream is best .  This is a half gallon, a good amount to start with. We are fortunate to get our cream from the organic dairy up the hill, but grocery store cream will work just fine.  We found the '30s era Dazey butter churn at an antique store some time back, but the same effect can be had using a large jar with a tight lid.  Instead of turning the handle, the cream can be shaken in the jar -- or rolled back and forth by careful hands across a carpeted floor. Or, you can use the blender, but it's not nearly as rewarding as the "hands on" experience!

Now, here comes the fun part!  Start the cranking or shaking or blending at a slow pace until the cream starts to thicken, then pick up the pace.  It took us a about an hour of constant (or well, semi-constant churning) to seperate most of the butter milk from the solid form of the butter.  It takes longer if the milk isn't room temp, or if the "agitation" isn't constant.

If you have a kitty, she will know without being told that something very interesting is going on...

And it won't take long before she is really making life difficult trying to get into the churn.

Once the butter has separated -- and you'll know when it does! -- scoop out as much of it as you can with a ladle.

When you reach the point that the butter looks like this, you will also have a good amount (a couple pints or so) of buttermilk.  After you've ladled as much as you can, carefully pour the last remaining drops of buttermilk carefully into your pitcher and save it all to use later.  Or to drink!

Then, add about a half cup of cold water to the churn/blender/jar and give it some more agitation.  Pour off after a bit and discard.  Repeat this step until the water runs clear.

Here you see the butter and the buttermilk.

The next job is to remove as much of the remaining buttermilk as is humanly possible.  This helps keep your butter from going rancid.  The best way we found to do this is to place the blob of butter on a large, sterilized cutting board.  Using a rubber spatula, pat, turn, and fold the butter.  You'll see "beads" and streams of buttermilk rising up and pooling underneath.  Place a rag at one end of your cutting board and tip the board on the opposite end, to allow the buttermilk to roll down into the rag.  Do this often.  It takes a good half hour usually to pat out all the buttermilk.

 When you've gotten out as much as you can, you can add salt if desired, folding and mixing it in thoroughly with your rubber spatula.  We used three teaspoons for this amount of butter.  But it's up to you how salted you like your butter.

After you've got out as much of the liquid as you possibly can, place the butter into molds -- or little tupperware containters with good lids.  To unmold, you may just need to gently squeeze the sides of your container and pop the butter out onto a plate.  If it sticks, wrap a hot rag around the bottom of the container for just a couple seconds, which should loosen it up enough to upturn onto your butter dish for a pretty presentation.  (You can smooth the final product with the back of a spoon if it's a little "messy.")

This is how much we made from a half gallon of cream.

This is how the finished product looks.  And when you taste it, you'll be amazed at how much better  it is than store-boughten!  SO creamy and light!  Worth every crank!


Tridentine Wife said...

Love the butter recipe and a great activity to do with the older kids. Mine are still too little but perhaps next year. I hear ya on buying the pie crusts. wish I'd thought of that...but there is no way I'm going back to the store haha!

GrandmaK said...

How can one person be so organized!?! And homemade butter to boot!!! We used to love that as kids too...didn't make it often. Suspect it would lose a lot of the joy if we HAD to make ti! Happiest of Thanksgivings to you!!! Cathy

AnchorMama said...

I loved making butter as a kid. My grandmother gave me a jar of cream to shake. I'm not sure if she needed the butter or if she was just trying to keep me busy. Either way it worked!

Your Thanksgiving meal sounds so yummy! Save some pie for me!