The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Making Mildred’s homemade butter using an electric whisk

making butterAt the age of six I almost came to blows with my best friend’s mother. This lady was elegant, French and chic. She had one of those woven basket shopping trolleys (2 wheels and a handle) and wore espadrilles.

Her fridge was full of mysterious ingredients. I remember examining a jar of capers. Trying to imagine how any food could be improved with these small reptilian greenish greyish balls.

Looking back this rather distant lady probably considered me a bad influence on her youngest daughter. We were very wild.

But the big altercation was not about our naughtiness it was a spat about butter.

At home we ate salted butter (Anchor). At Twink’s house everything was much more deluxe. I couldn’t understand why her mother was giving us margarine for breakfast. One day she actually referred to it as butter. This overt lying was too much for me.
“It’s margarine.”
“It’s butter.”
“It tastes just like margarine.”
“It certainly does not.”
Her icy glance put me in my place in an instant. “It’s unsalted butter. And it’s French.”

I had never heard of unsalted butter. Somewhere deep down inside I realised that my preference would rubber stamp her antipathy. So I spread it on my toast, gazed at the sophisticated table cloth (black and white checks) and didn’t mention that I preferred Anchor.

Sometimes we treat ourselves to a lovely French slightly salted butter. I always think of this lady as I reach for the slim, expensive roll. Lying in bed a few nights ago I realised that if I tried making Mildred’s butter I would actually save money on this treat. The by product of buttermilk would be free. We use buttermilk in soda bread. The air miles would be minuscule and homemade butter might taste better.

I had to use the best cream to give the test butter making run a fighting chance. So Jalopy pointed her nose towards Waitrose. There are no local dairy farms and hopefully the cream would come from a UK farm. A quick internet search informed me that Waitrose use 70 UK farms to supply their cream.

Not having a dairy churn handy I used my electric whisk. I studied Mildred’s method closely. I put the cream and creme fraiche mixture in the airing cupboard overnight. In the morning I popped the bowl into the fridge to chill.

The cream turned to butter in about ten minutes. The rest of the process took some time but eventually I had three rolls of butter. Not having a pair of butter pats I used a tiny chopping board to shape them. The total process took me an hour from start to finish.

Next time I am going to force the water out of the butter by putting it in two layers of muslin and squeezing it in our small fruit press. With a bit of experience, I reckon that the butter making process could be shortened to about half an hour.

2 pints of double cream made 610g of butter and 400ml of butter milk. I just used half a teaspoon of Maldon salt (which I will grind next time). The butter is delicious and the buttermilk is much sweeter than the supermarket stuff.

  Leave a reply


  1. Well done on making your own Butter!!!!

  2. Hi Fi, I am thrilled to buttery bits that you made the butter!! The whisk sounds as if it did the job really well . . . and like you say, the process can become quicker once you know what you are doing. What a good idea to use the press to squeeze the water out, I use a butter pat against the side of the bowl . . . it is hard work!
    As lovely as home made butter is on bread etc, do try using it when you make some pastry or cakes! It works beautifully!

  3. Love that story … took me right back to my childhood.

    Lucius and I don’t eat butter (or margarine), but the children eat butter in vast quantities, so in the holidays I’m going to make this with them, so that they understand exactly what they are eating … and so that I can make some lovely sodabread with the buttermilk!


  4. I would love to have a go at making some butter when I’ve a bit more time ,my uncles used to mske it at their farms,they had a pantry that had a long cold slab that they stacked the cheese and the butter went in a cupboard with wire mesh on the front,this post of yours brought back some happy memories thank you !Kathyann at meg’s mum’s muffins

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat,

    I really enjoyed making the butter. I am a convert to homemade.

    Hi MIldred,

    Thank you so much for your guest spot method. I will try some in our Christmas cake and when I next make pastry.

    Hi Joanna,

    Even though I knew that butter is made from cream, it was quite a shock to see how much cream was needed to make a few pats of butter!

    Hi Kathyann,

    Homemade butter and cheese, set on a cold slab in your uncle’s larder. What a perect memory. I’d love to have a go at making cheese one day. I remember those little cupboards with the wire mesh doors.

  6. Michelle

    This is so amazing, I can’t wait to try it. I think it would be delicious with some homemade bread!

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Michelle,

    It is wonderful. I’m going to make some more this weekend!

  8. kkkkt

    I have just made some butter. Got a cheap carton of double cream, put it in a big plastic pot and threw in some rock salt. Shook it like crazy for half an hour, washed it and pressed it and it is now in the fridge. Can’t wait to see if it is nice. Will save a fortune at the supermarket by just buying up cheap cream.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi kkkkt

    So glad that you left this comment. So you made butter just using the power of shake!

    Hope that it turned out well for you.

    Yes, you can save money if you keep your eyes peeled for cheap cream.

  10. Same as will have a go soon and make some garlic butter as i love the stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1,891,722 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

HTML tags are not allowed.

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder