Is it worth making yourself?
I decided it was butter experiment time.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the price of groceries where I live has gone up quite a bit lately. We use a lot of butter in this house. We cook with it. I bake with it. We don’t use margarine at all.
A block of 454 grams of just regular, nothing fancy butter is about $6.99 right now. A year ago, it was $5.49 and you could get it on sale regularly for less than that.
I was looking at the butter in the store and not too far away from it, was whipping cream. I decided that I was going to make my own butter and see if it’s cheaper to do that or just stick to the premade stuff.
What you need to make butter
The most important item is your cream. You need a cream with a high-fat content. We have 35% fat in our whipping cream here in Ontario. I have never tried anything lower than that.
I found this 500 ml container of whipping cream for $3.49 on sale.
To make your life easier, get your mixer out. There are other ways to make butter such as using a jar with a marble in it and shake shake shake…but I wasn’t interested in an arm workout today. I’ve also seen butter made in a food processor although I’ve never tried that myself.
I used my Ankarsrum mixer but a Kitchen Aid stand mixer will work as well. Use your whipping attachment.
Add the whipped cream to your mixer. Start out slow and turn up the power to full speed.
You will get to the whipped cream stage first. Keep going.
We are just past whipped cream now. It doesn’t look appealing but keep going.
You will start to notice the buttermilk separating from the butter solids. Keep going until you get larger clumps of butter packing together.
On a side note, depending on your mixer, you may need to cover the top with a towel to prevent a massive mess in your kitchen. The mixer is still going at full speed and now you have a liquid splashing around. Just make sure your towel is not anywhere near moving parts.
Once you are satisfied that you have clumped together all the butter, move the butter into a clean bowl to prepare for rinsing.
This took approximately 8 minutes in total in my Ankarsrum.
I used a spatula to scrap out the rest of the butter into the other bowl. I also decided to see how much buttermilk I had left over and you can see it’s almost 3/4 of a cup.
Use a spatula to squish the butter into a ball. This will release more buttermilk. In the end, I had a full cup of buttermilk.
About this buttermilk. You will notice that it does not look like the buttermilk you buy from the store. I used my leftover buttermilk to make peach scones, which were delicious. However, regular store-bought buttermilk is usually labelled “cultured” buttermilk and is thicker than this stuff. You may notice a difference in your baking if you use this left over buttermilk. I say experiment and see what you get!
Also, because I did some research, whey is a by-product of making cheese. Buttermilk is a by-product of making butter.
Next, you want to add some clean, cool-temperature water to your bowl and again squish the butter. This will release more buttermilk from the butter. Pour that water out and repeat until the water stays clear.
I’ve been told it’s important to do this as your butter can go rancid quicker but honestly, butter doesn’t last long in this house so I can’t verify that.
If you want, you can add sea salt to your butter to make it salted butter. I used fine sea salt but this is really a preference thing. You can add herbs to make herb butter. Or leave it plain. It’s your choice.
This post from happymoneysaver.com gives you recipes for 5 different flavoured kinds of butter. They all sound delicious!
In my case, I used 1/4 tsp for the amount of butter I made. Sprinkle on top and mix in.
So how much butter did I make
211 grams of butter! (and no, that does not include the weight of the glass butter dish 😉).
A little math then. $3.49 for 211 grams of butter and 1 cup of buttermilk. This is $0.0165 per gram of butter. We can round up and say $0.02.
Store-bought butter is 454 grams for $6.99. This is $0.0153 per gram of butter. If we round this up, it is also $0.02 per gram.
Well, I have to say that I’m shocked that the price is slightly more to make your own butter. I mean it’s not significant, but I had hoped there would be a discount.
But the biggest thing was how good the homemade butter tasted compared to the regular, nothing special store-bought butter. Being able to control the amount of salt was fantastic. I also found the homemade butter was smoother and spread much better on bread.
I will certainly keep my eye out for sales on full-fat whipping cream and make my own!