Thursday, October 13, 2011

Homemade Butter

Butter..... (to be read in Paula Dean accent).  Butter is the easiest thing to make (if you have a hand-mixer or blender).  If you don't have either of these things in your kitchen, you're probably one of those people who think margarine is something acceptable to put in one's mouth.  There are a million ways to make butter - blending, beating, mixing, churning, jumping up and down, strapping it to your ass while engaged in adult activities...the possibilities are endless.  You can also culture and sour the cream to get a better flavor or just whip it straight up.   This post is about making butter in Korea.  Only ONE cream works unless you have access to a sack of cow udder.  Denmark Fresh Cream.

Don't use Seoul Milk Fresh Cream or any other kind of whipping cream.  They have stabilizers and emulsifiers, and they won't make butter.  I've tried and failed.  The only one that works is Denmark Fresh Cream.

They sell Denmark Fresh Cream at E-mart and at Well-Being Mart in Gyeongnidan.  They also sell it a few hundred won cheaper at the baking market in Bangsan, but the price is more or less 4,000 won per 500 mL.  500 mL yields about a cup of butter and some buttermilk, which you can use to make pancakes or whatever else.  If you do the math, it is slightly more expensive to make your own butter.  But it tastes amazing, and everyone will want to be your friend.  (Not really.  I thought it'd be a real hit at parties if I talked about making my own butter and culturing the cream and draining off the buttermilk..their eyes just glaze over.)

Cultured Cream versus Sweet Fresh Cream
Cultured butter isn't very popular in America and therefore, not popular in Korea either.  Cultured butter tastes better.  Apparently, there are all these secondary flavors going on from the lactic acid breaking down fat globules...are your eyes glazing over?  I was curious so I tried Lurpak butter which is a cultured butter from Denmark.  It tastes even more awesome than homemade butter.  It's also pretty expensive so if you want to justify the costs of making butter at home, making cultured butter at home is actually cheaper or just as expensive as buying cultured butter (especially if you're that guy who buys the 30,000 won butter from Dean and Deluca's at Shinsegae).

How to Culture Butter
You'll need a glass jar, cream and yogurt.  You can also use cultured buttermilk instead of yogurt which I made by sticking 50 grams of cultured Lurpak butter in 160 ml of Pasteur Low-Heat milk and letting it sit out for 24ish hours.  It's best to sterilize your tools and all that, but I don't even shower so I'm not going to start being a hypocrite now.  (Seriously, it doesn't make a huge difference if you sterilize or don't sterilize if you live in a developed country.)  Let your cream sit out until it reaches room temperature and gets all nice and tepid so the bacteria can abound.  Pour the cream into the glass jar, stir in a heaping spoonful of your yogurt/buttermilk and stir well.  Cover with a towel and let it sit in a warm place for about 24 hours or more until it reaches a sour cream-like, thick consistency.  This seems to take longer than I had anticipated so be prepared to wait longer than 24 hours but not too much more or the cream could spoil.  You're basically making sour crIf the cream has any weird smell or develops any pink or orange hues, it's gone bad, and you need to throw it out.

Turn Cream into Butter
Chill the biggest stainless steel bowl you own.  The bigger the better because butter splashes EVERYWHERE like summertime in Schlitterbahn (I'm from Texas).  Once the bowl is chilled, pour in your cream and whip with an electric mixer.  You can also save yourself the splatter and use a blender and chill the blender before use.

Keep whipping.  You can work your way up to higher speeds as you're whipping until the butter forms and separates from the buttermilk (5-10 minutes) .

See, there's lots of splatter.  I just leave it there for decoration.

Drain the buttermilk off and save it to use in cooking.  If you didn't culture your cream, the buttermilk won't be a cultured buttermilk so you can't use it to make cheese.  If you want cultured buttermilk, you have to first culture the cream.

Now pour in ice water and "wash" the butter in the ice water and pour off the water.  Repeat this process until you've washed out all the buttermilk from the butter and the water you pour off is clear.  It's important to get all the buttermilk out because any buttermilk left in the butter will cause the butter to spoil quickly.

Salt the butter to taste.  You can also add in herbs or garlic to make garlic butter, etc.

Shape your butter and wrap it in parchment paper or wax paper.

Eat a baked potato.

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