Sunday, May 23, 2010

Just For Fun ............ Yogurt and Butter

This week I had a little fun doing things I have wanted to for awhile. I made yogurt and butter. Let me just say that you can't make these without real dairy products. At least you can't make versions of them you would actually want to eat. So this wasn't strictly a food storage endeavor, but it was definitely informative and fun.

First the yogurt. I LOVE vanilla yogurt. It's one of my favorite snacks, and my new favorite food storage book had a recipe so I tried that first. I bought some plain yogurt at the store that had live cultures and no additives. That is your starter bacteria that you need. You can buy it in other forms but this was easiest for me.

Then I gathered the other ingredients which included whole milk AND powdered milk (the whole recipe is under my recipe link.) It was SUPER easy to make and I let it "cure" in my wonder oven. I actually forgot about it in there so I left it a little too long, making it more tart than it would have been otherwise, but it was SO good. My kids gobbled it up. Plus for the next 2 days I took the jar and spoons around with me everywhere and forced my friends and family to taste test it. Weird. I know. But I was so proud, and it REALLY was good. :) One batch made a big and little jar as you can see in the picture. For more pictures and details, check out the recipe link.

Next I made butter. Yep. I MADE butter. Funny how something all women did 100 years ago, makes us feel like such a super woman now - LOL! Let me just start off saying that you CAN NOT make butter without cream. And you can't store cream, so unless you have a cow, or a goat, you wouldn't be able to do this without going to the store. And you can't use just any cream. It can not be ultra-pasteurized cream which is what most stores sell. It has to be just regular pastuerized. I was finally able to track down some regular pasteurized manufacturing cream at Smart & Final. I hear that they sell it at Whole Foods as well but I didn't check.

I almost want to just leave it at that and let you all be awed with my homemaking prowess, because you won't be nearly as impressed when you see how easy it was. :) Anyway, I let the cream come to room temperature. Then I poured it into my Bosch with my whipping beaters and started whipping it.

After about 5 minutes it started to turn into whipped cream with soft peaks.

A minute later I had stiff peaks forming.

Then about 2 minutes after that, the solids suddenly congealed into butter and separated from the buttermilk. That's right. Buttermilk ACTUALLY comes from butter! Who knew?

Because I used sweet cream, this buttermilk is not sour like the kind you buy in the store, although you could use lemon juice to sour it. 100 years ago they would let the cream sour before making butter which would create a sour buttermilk by product. These days we seem to prefer sweet cream butter so the milk by product is also sweet. Don't throw it out. It is excellent for baking with and using in your recipes.

After separating the butter from the buttermilk you need to "wash" the butter. This is to get all the buttermilk out of the butter, otherwise it will go rancid very quickly. Simply put the butter into a bowl and fill with COLD water. Then knead the butter until the water turns cloudy. Empty the water, refill, and repeat. Do this until the water remains clear. I had to do it 4 or 5 times.

Then I put the butter back in my mixer and added salt. You don't have to add salt but it tastes very bland without it. If you accidentally over salt it (like I did), just rewash it. Anyway, I whipped the salt in and then I used an old one pound butter container I had and put my butter in there. I had more leftover so I added garlic and parsley to it and made a container of garlic butter for rolls or bread.

So I started out with a 1/2 gallon of cream and I ended up with about 1/4 gallon of buttermilk and about 2 pounds of butter. The cream cost me $6.50 so it was more expensive to make the butter than to buy it, but it was SO much fun! And I feel good that I know how, and I know how easy it is.

BTW, you do not have to keep butter in the fridge. You do need to keep it in an airtight container. As long as air does not get to it as it sits, it will stay good for a fair length of time on your counter.

Making yogurt and butter and living off food storage this many months has given me a greater understanding of how invaluable cows are. We scoff at other countries that worship cows, or how they were given as wedding presents centuries ago, but I can tell you, cows are worth more than their weight in gold. When you have a cow, you have beef, milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and more. Trust me when I tell you, these items are irreplaceable when you are trying to produce food for your family. If I'm ever given the chance to take just one thing with me and live off the land, it would be a cow.

And yes, I can hear you all laughing at me as you read this :)


  1. No laughing here! I tried making yogurt with only powdered milk before and it was horrid. So, I think I'll have to try again with regular milk and see how we like it. And the only way I've ever made butter before is in a jar. Shaking the jar until it forms into butter, but this way looks so much easier!

  2. I tried several yogurt recipes with just powdered milk. Nasty! Watery and grainy.

    I heard that you could make butter by shaking it but it took 7 minutes of constant whipping in my Bosch so I can imagine it would take quite a long time via shaking. Maybe a good activity for an overly energetic kid? :)

  3. It is a great activity for kids we used to make it at the preschool the kids loved to shake it until it turned into butter then put it on saltine crackers and eat it!

  4. why doesn't butter need to stay in the fridge??? I constantly argue with my brother about this because he leaves his on the counter - and I think if it's a dairy product it should be in the fridge..... let's talk the next time I see you :).