How to Make the Best Butter

Jan 5, 2013 by

How to Make the Best Butter was originally published in 1886, so if you’d like to know the true, old fashioned, make-it-yourself way to make butter, this little book is for you.  In our fast paced world it is nice to remember how people used to live and make their own food.  The author begins with the cows, how to take care of them, milk them, when to skim the milk, etc. There is a large section on salt, what type of salt to use and how much.

Here are a few paragraphs from the book all about churning & washing and salting butter:

“We have here some hints about churning. The temperature must be right— neither too high nor too low. If too high, we would beat the globules into smaller ones ; if too low they would refuse to unite ; and in either case the butter would fail to appear. Milk in different conditions and at different seasons of the year would call for a different temperature within a moderate range. If the cream is viscous and ropy, as it sometimes is when the cold weather comes, or when the systems of the cows receive any sudden shock, from chilling, a higher temperature would be called for and a dilution of the cream with warm water would help dissolve and wash off’ the albuminous matter adhering to the fat globules. thus letting them free to come together and coalesce. This seems to be the philosophy of churning, viewed in the light of recent experiments, and it suggests the idea that there may be an advantage, where the temperature of cream has been run down low, to raise the temperature a few degrees above the churning point, as before suggested, and then let it settle down to the right degree before beginning to churn. If this is not done, the fat, being a poorer conductor of heat than the serum in which it floats, may be still in a solid instead of a semi-solid condition— and the point just between a congealing and a liquid state take to be the right one for churning.

It is not many years since that dairymen thought it necessary to gather their butter into a solid mass in the chum, and then take it out and work and wash it as long as the water looked milky. A few years ago some one started the idea of stopping the churn when the butter gathered into lumps the size of beechnuts or kernels of corn. In this condition it was washed in the churn or bowl, with but little working until the salt was applied. This was an improvement.

But now the more advanced butter makers stop the churn as soon as the butter appeals in granules of the size of wheat kernels, and even as small as mustard seed. A very successful butter maker says he was not able to get the butter to take the salt properly, or as evenly as he wanted it to do, if he allowed the granules to become larger than mustard seed. If larger than this, a magnifying glass would show white spots of unsalted butter. His practice is — and it is the practice of most good butter makers — to draw off the buttermilk immediately on stopping; the churn, and then pour into the churn enough water, at 55 degrees or below, to float the butter, when the churn is greatly agitated a few moments, and the water drawn off. The second washing, done in the same way, is with brine, made of the purest salt that can be obtained. ”


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