Cheesepalooza Butter

I have been making butter for a long time and decided that as part of the Cheesepalooza project I would do a comparison so that we might all learn something.  I used 2 500 ml. jars of fresh cream and heated them to 110 degrees in warm water on top of the stove.  My pictures of this process have mysteriously disappeared so picture putting the glass jars into a pot of fairly hot water and putting a thermometer into one of them to keep track of the temp as it rises.  This took about 15 minutes to come up to 110 degrees as the cream came directly from the refrigerator.

At this point I inoculated one 500 ml. jar with 1/8 tsp. Mesophilic II from Glengarry Cheese Company as I usually do.  The other one I inoculated with 1/8 tsp. Aroma B as indicated on page 43 of Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making At Home.  I will be very interested in the taste result of this and you will be surprised when I show the finished pictures in a few moments.   I let the cultures sit on top of the warm cream for a few minutes and them whisked them in well and put a lid on each jar.  I always use my oven to make my yogurt and butter so I turned the temp to 150 degrees and turned it right off as soon as it reached that.  Then I waited about 10 minutes to let the oven cool down slightly and put the two jars into the oven and made sure the light was on.  The oven light is enough to keep the oven at just the right temperature for the full culturing time.  This sat in the oven overnight.  Always make sure you put a sticky note over the oven control though as I learned by cooking my cultures a couple of times!

Next morning I put them both into the refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled well I used my Thermomix to turn each into butter.  If you don’t have a Thermomix I highly recommend you look at getting one.  I don’t know how I survived in the kitchen before I had it.

Thermomix - the super kitchen machine!

I put the paddle that comes with the Thermomix inside it and poured in the cold cream.  Then I used speed 4 to whip the cream.  It whips up really thick and then slowly it starts to separate into butter and buttermilk.

Notice how yellow the butter is as it whips.

Butter and whey separated.

 

The next step is to pour off the buttermilk and then fill the Thermomix half way with very cold water and turn it back on for a few seconds, drain again and rinse again with very cold water.  Continue to do this until the water is pretty much clear.  This can be done in a food processor or stand mixer as well but won’t be as quick.  The entire butter making process took me about 5 minutes with the Thermomix and I was making two different batches for comparison.  You can feed the leftover buttermilk to pigs or chickens, add it to baking, drink it or even pour on your garden.  Don’t waste it!  I always add unprocessed sea salt to my butter not only because I like it but because salt is a natural preservative and the butter will keep better even in the freezer.  I used 1/4 tsp. for a 500 ml. jar.

Now here is the really interesting part.  Take note that the cream used in all these butters came from the same farm and Jersey herd but one came from spring grass and the other two from summer grass during a draught.  I was so fascinated by this that I decided to include it here.  To make matters more interesting the butter on the left was made with the Aroma B starter as Mary Karlin instructed and the one of the right was made with the Mesophilic II from Glengarry Cheese Company.  The cream for both of these came from the same bottle on the same day.  This picture doesn’t quite do the butters justice but I think it’s obvious that the larger sample on the right is darker yellow than the larger sample on the left.

 

Now have a look at the bright yellow hunk of butter in the middle.  This is a piece of the butter I made in late April just after the cows went out on pasture.  I make butter every spring and freeze it for winter because cows on quickly growing fresh green grass have milk with higher vitamin and antioxidant content.  Vitamin A and K2 are higher in spring grass fed milk as well.  Obviously the carotene level is higher in the butter piece in the middle.  It was made with the same Mesophilic II culture as the one on the right and again, same cows, same farm.  This shows that the quality of the feed can influence the quality of the butter.  I had not realized just how much until I did this experiment.  I cannot explain why the Aroma B culture turned the butter a lighter yellow than the Mesophilic II culture did so if anyone knows that answer I would love for you to comment on this blog.

Benefits of grass fed butter include:

Higher CLA levels (3×5 times that of grain fed cattle).  CLA helps with weight loss, has been researched and found to be helpful to reduce cancer risk and is good for heart health.

The colour in natural foods usually indicates the amount of phytonutrients and antioxidants that the food contains.

Increased levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene.

Vitamin K2 is abundant in grass fed butter.  K2 helps reduce, prevent and reverse arterial plaque and is necessary for the proper utilization of calcium for bone health.

The fatty acid composition of grass fed butter consists of about 2/3 saturated fat and 1/3 monounsaturated fat.  Cows fed green grass produce milk with a better omega 6 to 3 ratio of 1 to 1.  Omega 6 is a fat that we have too much of in our diets and too high levels leads to inflammation.  Grain fed cows produce a higher omega 6 laden milk and butter.

Superior flavour!  Especially when cultured using a cheese culture.  Butter can be cultured by leaving raw milk on the counter over night and then whipping it into butter but the flavour and smell can be in the range of mild to strong old socks.  It depends on the natural bacteria and yeasts that are floating around in our house and is not predictable at all.  Using a culture and finding the one you like the flavour of best results in a more dependable product.  Never leave pasteurized cream out to culture at room temperature without a culture added to it.  Pasteurized cream has no enzymes or bacteria living in it and it will go rancid and can make you sick.

As for the taste test between the Aroma B and the Mesophilic II, I prefer my tried and true Mesophilic II butter but the Aroma B one has good flavour as well.  Try them both and see what you come up with!

 

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5 comments

  1. OK! What an incredible post! I am thrilled you are part of our group! What we have to learn! I did this with the Aroma B culture and freshly made uncultured butter. Same milk. Same day. They were both, oddly enough, the same colour! I preferred the taste of the fresh one over the cultured one. Now, I have frozen each of these (it made a lot, and I froze 1/2 of each) and will make the butter with the Mesophilic II ! What fun! I love tastings – but this colour thing has me crazy. Did you see my Mascarpone post? The colour changed through the process. I thought my eyes were doing tricks on me until I saw the photos, but it was super yellow, and the next day, whitish. I hope someone does have the answers. Are you able to explain the difference in the tastes? Is one sweeter? Is there any texture difference? Etc.
    🙂
    Valerie

  2. making butter is on my to do list for a long long time and I’ve seen so many different methods that it sort of dazzles me… Going by look alone, I love the look of the butter you made with the mesophillic starter. I have yet to find the starter here but will do a search online as I cannot wait to make my own butter too. Having so much fun in the whole cheesepalooza challenge. Loving it!

    • The mesophillic starter gives the butter an awesome taste! I used to make sweet butter but never again! Loving reading all the cheesepalooza posts as well. I’m behind with my own contribution for this month so need to get at it. :0)

  3. Another great post here. I really appreciate your knowledge and expertise. What a comparison between the three different butters! I’ve made butter before but not the cultured butter, which I understand has a better flavour or so I have heard? I can’t wait to attack this one as well!

    • Once you culture butter with cheese culture you will never go back to plain sweet butter. Guaranteed! The different cultures do seem to have different results but all are great!

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