We decided to get ambitious this week and made our own homemade butter, yes butter! And it's not as difficult as you may think, besides the intense arm work-out that comes with it, but more on that later. The final product was amazing though and we had the additional satisfaction of knowing that we truly earned this decadent breakfast. But first, how do you make butter?
Butter is made with heavy cream because the properties of fat molecules allow an amazing transformation to take place when the cream is agitated. The cream can be agitated by hand (as we did) or in a food processor or blender, but we decided to stick to tradition and also get our work-out in for the day this time around. During the agitation process, the cream first becomes whipped cream. With continued agitation the whipped cream will become butter and buttermilk as the fat solids separate from the other contents of the original cream (water, sugar, proteins, and minerals). What you are left with is delicious, fresh, and well earned butter and buttermilk.
So you are probably quite familiar with butter (aren't we all!) but what is buttermilk really? Well, traditional buttermilk is the liquid left behind after making butter as we just discussed. Though buttermilk may also refer to a fermented drink which is called cultured buttermilk. Cultured buttermilk is made from raw cream that has been left out at room temperature to curdle, or ferment, thanks to lactococcus lactis or lactobacillus bulgaricus bacterias. The increased acid in the buttermilk , primarily from acid produced during fermentation, is what gives it the classic tart flavor and curdled appearance . If you cannot get your hands on raw cream straight from the cow, and you end up using pasteurized cream from the grocery store (as we did being Chicagoans!), you will need to inoculate the cream with a starter culture to mimic the old-fashion cultured butter and buttermilk. But if you find yourself just wanting to whip up a simple batch of sweet cream butter and buttermilk without the fermentation process, remember to make sure that the cream you use is high quality, organic, and from pastured raised (grass-fed) cows. For one, because butter that is made from grass-fed cows is rich in healthy fats such as omega-3's and CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) - it's good stuff, trust us! And for two, well that's enough learning for one post. On to the recipe!
Homemade Sweet Cream Butter & Buttermilk
PREP TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
Servings: 1/2 pound butter, 1 cup buttermilk
1 pint organic heavy whipping cream
In a large glass jar fitted with a tight lid, add 1 pint of heavy whipping cream. Tightly close jar with a lid and vigorously shake for about 15 minutes. You will notice about 5 minutes into shaking that the cream will start to thicken, this is the start of making whipped cream! Continue to shake jar for another 3-5 minutes or so. You will notice the cream is more dense and does not make as much sloshing noise when shaken. The cream will also appear a light yellow color, this is good as you are now starting to separate the fat from the liquid...yes you are now making butter! Continue to shake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until you can see that the fat "butter" has separated from the liquid. See pictures above of the different stages and final products. Carefully strain the liquid "buttermilk" away form the solids "butter". You may now add salt if desired or any additional flavorings to your butter.
Apricot Maple Cinnamon Butter
PREP TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 35 mins
Servings: 1/4 pound butter
5 ripe apricots
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
1/4 pound freshly made butter
Cut apricots in half and remove pits then chop into small cubes and add to a sauté pan. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup to the pan and cook on low heat stirring occasionally until fruit is soft and starting to break down (~30 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Add 1/3 of the cooled apricots to butter then stir in salt and cinnamon. *Reserve the rest of the cooked apricots for topping your pancakes. Using a piece of wax paper, carefully mold butter into desired shape.
Buttermilk Buckwheat Tea Cakes
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
Servings: 20 silver dollar pancakes, serves 4
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal flour
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup brewed strong black tea (we used 2 earl grey tea bags with 4 oz of water)
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp warm water
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Pure maple syrup
Cooked apricots reserved from Apricot Butter recipe
In a large bowl, combine buckwheat flour, oat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda then stir to combine. In a separate bowl combine butter milk and lemon juice. Allow mixture to sit for ~10 minutes to thicken. In another separate, small bowl combine the ground flax seed with warm water. Whisk with a fork until combined then allow mixture to sit for ~5 mins to thicken. Mix together the buttermilk, cooled black tea, vanilla, and flax seed mixture and add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter and continue to stir mixture until combined, making sure to avoid over mixing.
Using a well seasoned cast iron skillet or a ceramic based non-stick skillet (free of carcinogenic properties in the non-stick coating) ladle batter into preheated pan in the shape of silver dollars. When the batter begins to bubble, flip pancakes over and continue to cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is used. Stack 5 or so tea cakes on your plate, smear a generous portion of apricot butter between cakes, and top with maple syrup and reserved cooked apricots.
You deserve this meal! The buckwheat pancakes are hearty and fluffy in a way that only pancakes can be, and slathered with the rich, sweet, tangy, and so fresh apricot butter it's almost too good to be true. So skip the arm work-outs at the gym this week and get to making this homemade butter instead. When you're done you'll understand why we say, you earned it.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.