Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Science of Butter

For Hannukah/Christmas/New Years, I got Jesse a cheesemaking book. (Really, it was for me). I've heard that making soft cheeses is really easy, and I've been so excited to try it out. We tried to make sour cream for our latkes awhile ago, and it was a bit of a runny mess. By now, though, it's solidified a little, and actually tastes like sour cream! Better than sour cream! It's amazing!

With that tasty success, it was time for another try, so I attempted butter. The recipe was really easy--take cream, shake until the butterfat separates, wash it, and add salt. While I could have used the food processor, I chose to shake it in a glass jar for 20 minutes, because I figured by the time I made the butter, I will have worked off enough calories to eat it. So I shook and shook. I got a little worried when I opened the jar and just saw whipped cream, but as I kept shaking the fat in the milk began to clump together into a big blob, leaving buttermilk behind. (So really, I made butter AND buttermilk. Two in one!)

You know those experiments in science class where cool things happen with regular ingredients? Like a baking soda and vinegar volcano? It was kind of like that. I was just shaking along, and the next time I peered into the jar there was a blob of butter there! I felt like I needed Bill Nye the Science Guy to explain what I just did. Or the president to give me a medal. Either way.

So, I washed and rinsed the butter a few times, mixed and mashed the salt into it, and then put it in the fridge! And this morning, Jesse and I enjoyed fresh butter on our bagels. And it tasted good.

Happy New Years!

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