As one of my New Thing A Day challenges in 2015, I thought I would try making some homemade butter following the instructions in a video I found on YouTube. It looked quick and simple, and only one ingredient was required: cream.
So I duly set up my workspace in the kitchen with my food processor, measuring cups, some cream, and a bowl of ice water, which was required later in the process.
The method was simple: whip the cream in the food processor until it becomes lumpy and you can see liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl separating from the solid cream. Add a little ice water and keep whipping until you the machine starts to struggle as the cream becomes solid, i.e. butter. Pour out the liquid (which is buttermilk) and put aside to use later in a dough recipe or similar. Strain the butter and then carefully squeeze out all of the remaining liquid (if you don’t do this properly your butter can turn rancid within 24 hours). That’s it and it should take about five minutes in total.
It did not work. After reaching the lumpy stage I poured out the buttermilk, and continued mixing, but my “butter” just would not solidify, and instead became softer and softer until it ended up looking more like margarine than butter. I finally gave up and scraped it out of the mixing bowl.
I tried again, making a second batch using the same method as above but with whipping cream instead of double cream just to see if it would make a difference. It didn’t. I ended up with another bowl of soft margarine-like “butter”.
In retrospect, I suspect the problem may have been that I did not have the right blade in my machine and it was heating up the contents of the mixing bowl which meant the liquid, which was supposed to be separating out of the cream, was actually getting reabsorbed… I have since looked online to see if I can pick up a different blade for my machine but it’s about fifteen years old so unsurprisingly I could not find any.
The “butter” itself tasted nice if a little bland (you can flavour your butter with garlic, herbs, salt, etc if you want to), but because nowhere near as much liquid had been extracted as in the demo video I had watched, I was worried that my butter would turn rancid very quickly… so I started going through my cookbooks to find a recipe to use up the homemade “butter”.
We were planning to make pizza for our dinner so the first thing I did was use the buttermilk in place of water in our usual pizza dough recipe, and let the breadmaker do all the work for me. Whilst that was being prepared, I selected a recipe from my all time favourite cookbook, The Junior Cookbook, to use up our butter: The Ultimate Choc-Chip Cookie.
I made the cookie dough and spooned it out onto lined baking trays, popped them into the oven, and approximately 30 seconds later realised I had forgotten to put in the sugar! Aaargh!!! I had to whip out the trays of cookies, scrape the dough back into the mixing bowl, add the sugar, and mix it in as well as I could. But it was hard work and my arms were starting to ache so Tim took over, while I cleaned up the kitchen counters and did the washing up.
Once the sugar had been thoroughly mixed into the cookie dough, we once again spooned it out onto the lined baking trays and baked the cookies for 15 minutes at 180C.
While the cookies were cooling on a wire rack, the breadmaker started beeping to let us know that our pizza dough was ready.
Tim is the Pizza King – he makes us a pizza once a week and it’s always delicious. I am forbidden from making the pizza dough because apparently I “don’t do it right” – even though I always follow Tim’s recipe to the letter it never tastes as good as when he prepares it… and there was that one time when I mistakenly put in a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon…
Tim nearly had a fit when he removed the pail of buttermilk pizza dough from the breadmaker – it looked lumpy and dry, nothing like it normally does. Naturally, he began accusing me of not having accurately measured out the ingredients… but the only thing I had changed was substituting buttermilk for the water called for in the recipe, keeping the measurements exactly the same.
The dough proved extremely difficult to roll out and it was considerably less stretchy and much, much thinner than our usual dough. Tim was cursing my “stupid idea” of using the buttermilk and called it the “worst pizza dough ever”…
I was vindicated approximately half an hour later when the pizzas came out of the oven. The dough had risen beautifully and the pizzas looked and smelled absolutely amazing. The look on Tim’s face was priceless ha ha!
The cookies and pizzas were delicious; we had managed to turn one fail into two successes – hooray!
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