Making Butter and Clotted Cream
Why not make your own clotted cream or butter to use in your baking? It’s not as intimidating as it sounds! Try our traditionally-inspired methods to make your own dairy butter for toast and cakes – or luscious clotted cream to spread on Home-baked Scones!
Making Fresh ButterHave you ever seen a wooden butter churn? They’re usually found in museums and languishing in old barns these days. This wooden barrel, with a lid and plunger stuck through the top, was used by people on dairy farms to make fresh butter. You can use exactly the same technique to make your own – no fancy equipment necessary!
Butter is nothing more than agitated cream. To make it yourself, all you need to do is, literally, shake up some cream. Of course, it’s simple but not exactly easy, or we’d all be making our own butter on the weekends! To become butter, the cream will have to be shaken and shaken for up to an hour. Choose organic, whole cream to make your butter. We would highly recommend looking in your farm shop for a locally-made cream– ours is heaps thicker and yellower than pale and insipid supermarket double cream.
Before starting, make sure your cream is at room temperature. Decant your carton of cream into a large, clean jam jar and go for it – start shaking! (If you have helpers, you could sit on the floor and roll the jar back and forth, or take turns to shake.) After a while, you’ll see that the cream has started to separate into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). It’s the solids you’re after.
Once the butter has become a solid lump in the bottom of the jar, and the sound of the shaking changes, it’s ready. Drain off the whey and save it – you can use this in recipes that call for buttermilk. Pick up the solid butter and wash it carefully in plenty of clean water, draining off as much of the whey as possible. And that’s it! The butter can now be shaped, seasoned and refrigerated until you’re ready to enjoy it. As it’s fresh, your butter should be eaten quickly. Why not enjoy it on some Homemade Muffins or Crumpets or with scones for the Perfect Afternoon Tea described in this section?
Making Clotted CreamFarmers’ wives or maids were usually responsible for scalding the milk to produce dairy products. The process is fairly simple, and quite possible to replicate at home.
To start with, the fresh, whole, unpasteurised milk would be left overnight in a brass or earthenware crock or pan. Today, you can use an ordinary milk pan. In the morning, the milk should be placed over a very low heat to be ‘scalded’ – warmed without reaching boiling point. The milk should not be stirred. It’s ready when pimples begin to form on the top of the milk. This step takes about one hour. Now the milk should be removed from the heat and set aside to cool, preferably overnight.
The next morning, scoop off the wrinkled, yellow cream from the top of the pan, and put it into a pot for your scones! The milk beneath is suitable for baking with.