The title pretty much says it all: churning butter is as easy as shaking a cocktail. If you look online for butter-making devices, you’ll find all sorts:
- old-fashioned plunger-style tapered-wooden churns that stand on the floor
- smaller versions of the same design made out of crockery that sit on a counter or table-top with a plunger through the lid
- glass jugs with a lid through which an egg-beater-like device is inserted and turned by hand
- a wooden barrel with a hand-crank for churning butter
- a plastic jar with a strainer under the lid, which is shaken by hand
- a food processor
- and, finally, you can readily find instructions for making butter with a stand mixer and a paddle attachment
Many of those items are quite pricey — into the $100’s for the most expensive. The least expensive is probably the small plastic jar, which will hold a cup of cream for churning, and sells for $11 or $12. But there’s another alternative I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere, and that is a cocktail shaker. And, you may already have one in your home. They come in a variety of sizes and typically have a removable lid with a built-in strainer and removable cap — prices start at around $7.
Instructions for churning butter
For a detailed technical explanation of how churning butter works, you can read about it on Wikipedia.org. Basically you need:
- Room-temperature heavy-whipping cream (if your cream is refrigerated, put it in a covered container on a kitchen counter for 6 – 8 hours).
- A churning device.
- Cheesecloth or something similar, such as a nut-milk bags (fine-mesh bags used to make almond milk, cold-brewed coffee, etc.). It is used to squeeze the liquid out of your butter after its been churned.
If you like, add flavorings (such as honey or finely ground herbs) to the cream before you churn it. This will help ensure that the flavor thoroughly saturates your butter. If you make several flavors, you can divide them into several covered containers for storage. Use the butter as needed, or give some as host/hostess gifts at dinner parties. Flavored butters can also make nice gifts for foodie friends. Written instructions and a video demonstration are below.
Churning butter with a cocktail shaker
2 cups room-temperature heavy whipping cream (the amount of cream will depend on how large a churning-device you have; plan pouring in enough cream until the churn is half-way to two-thirds full).
- Pour refrigerated heavy-whipping cream into covered vessel (such as a cocktail shaker), and allow it to sit out on a counter for 5 – 8 hours, to reach room temperature.
- If the cream isn’t already in a cocktail shaker, pour room-temperature heavy-whipping cream into cocktail shaker; add flavoring(s) if desired.
- Shake for 3 or 4 minutes until a solid mass of butter forms
- Pour out the liquid (the liquid is buttermilk that can be saved for baking)
- Pour in water, swirl, and pour out; repeat until the water runs clear
- Place butter into cheesecloth and gently squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Be careful not to squeeze your butter out of the cheesecloth.
- Remove butter to a ramekin, bowl, or butter mold, and place in refrigerator to harden.
Video: churning butter in a cocktail shaker
The end result is quite delicious. I hope you churn some butter and enjoy it. ♦