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Back to Basics: Culinary Fundamentals (Butter)

Today on Guilty Kitchen, is the start of a new series that I like to call: Culinary Fundamentals. It’s going to be a back to basics approach to food, kind of like my way of showing you that anyone can cook from scratch. Really from scratch, like butter and mayonnaise and bread. Those kinds of things.

It hit me a couple of days ago, when we were in the back lot of forest behind our house foraging for mushrooms, that everyone should know the basics. Some people have never made salad dressing from scratch, or tomato sauce or even bread! This may not be shocking to you, as you may be one of those people, but to me everyone should know how to do them. In my mind, it is absolutely necessary for people to possess these skills. Why? Because everyone should know how to make their food from scratch, it’s just that simple. It’s such an easy skill to cook, and something everyone must do. We shouldn’t have to rely on the commercial brands to do it for us.

Anyone who’s ever compared the taste of homemade to commercial, can say with confidence which is better. I’m sure there are big brand versions of some things that poeple prefer, but that might only be because they’ve never attempted to make it themselves.

Take today’s first lesson, butter. A simple recipe: cream, salt if desired. That’s it. Most commercial butter contains one more ingredient, colour. It is added to make the butter have a yellow cast to it, resembling the natural hue of grass fed cattle’s pure milky goodness. Natural butter can be anywhere from off white to very yellow, depending on the time of year and the cow’s diet. But the stuff you buy in the store is dyed to make it look more natural…a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me.

Tasting fresh, homemade butter is better. It just is. You made it (in a very short period of time, no less) and you can taste the difference in the finished product.

So I hope the lessons that I will be sharing every Monday will be of value to you, my readers. I hope I change a few minds.

One Year Ago: The Perfect Brownie

How to Make Butter (Step by step tutorial)

Yield: 1 cup butter
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cooking/Active Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

2 cups heavy cream (organic would be best)
1/2 tsp salt

1. Pour everything into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attached. Set to 8 or 9 (almost high).

2. Keep going…. It’s still whipped cream at this point.

3.  Now we’re talking, you’re so close. Keep going though. You’ll be whisking  at high speed for approximately 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when there is a substantial amount of  liquid visible in the bottom of the bowl.

4. Done!

5. Now you must remove the solids from the buttermilk with your hands, squeeze it into a ball and continue to squeeze as you hold it under cold running water. You must rinse the buttermilk away from the butter to avoid it spoiling too quickly. Once the liquid that gets squeezed out is clear, you’re good to go!
6. To store your butter, just wrap in plastic or keep in an airtight container and keep in the fridge. You can also use the buttermilk if you wish as you would any buttermilk.
7. This butter should keep as long as any butter, as long as you’ve rinsed it very well and store it in the refrigerator. I’d say you’ve got a couple weeks at least.

Delicious recipes to use up your fresh butter:

Brown Butter Roasted Banana Bread on Guilty Kitchen
Brown Butter Spiced Apple Cake Sandwich Cookies on Guilty Kitchen
Idle Hand Bars on Guilty Kitchen
Compound Butters Tutorial on Guilty Kitchen
Homemade Twix Candy Bites on Guilty Kitchen

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