Saturday, January 17, 2015
During the evening of the first of the big (fortunately not everything in Texas is bigger) earthquakes in the Dallas area, we were having dinner with some friends at FT33. Matt McAllister dropped by the table and asked how we liked the butter. It was very good, very much in the European cultured style. He mentioned that it was made in house. Of course that conversation provided the inspiration to go off and make some. Madame was away for a bit, so that seemed like the ideal time. I wanted to make sure that I had time to find a cleaning crew if it went badly. I cultured the cream using some store bought creme fraiche, but didn't culture it for long enough. The 1 quart of cream, 4 oz. of creme fraiche yielded 21 oz of butter.
1 Quart (US quart - 32 oz, 4 cups....) heavy whipping cream
4 oz creme fraiche
3/4 t kosher salt
Stir together the cream and creme fraiche. Leave in a warm place for 24 - 36 hours until the desired level of tanginess is reached. Note, I was too impatient, and the place wasn't warm enough.
Refrigerate the cream mixture until ready to make the butter.
Chill the bowl of a stand mixer.
Pour the cream into the mixer bowl, and beat with the regular mixing paddle (not the whisk) on a medium slow speed. The cream will go through stages. After a few minutes it will have increased in volume and then thickened to the texture of whipped cream. That took about 1/2 the time - about 10 minutes. (Note that whisking cream for whipping is a much faster process). The cream volume then decreases and the cream becomes the texture of icing. All of a sudden, the cream separates into a thick fatty substance (proto-butter) and a milky liquid (traditional buttermilk). At that point the mixture sloshes about in the bowl. The buttermilk has a tendency to want to jump out of the bowl. The solids + paddle + buttermilk give much opportunity for mess making.
When the butter has reached that stage, transfer it to a fine mesh strainer, lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Allow the buttermilk to drain. Squeeze the solids to force more liquid out.
Rinse the solids with a lot of water (while in the cheesecloth, but don't dilute the buttermilk). Turn the butter onto a cold counter, knead it a bit by hand (it didn't show signs of melting). Flatten it, ad the salt and then knead for longer to incorporate the salt.
Form a log in parchment paper, place the log inside a plastic sealable bag and refrigerate.
I drank the buttermilk immediately. It was fantastic. Not that acidic, slightly off flavor and disgusting texture of the stuff in a green carton.