Thursday, January 28, 2010

March 9, 2009 - Butter Making

03/09/2009 – Butter Making
After experimenting with sweet milk paste (dulce de leche), several batches of yogurt, quark cheese (or something similar, a Middle Eastern dried yogurt to be eaten over flat breads with olive oil, salt and raw garlic), sweet cream, I got to make butter.
So, I went to Rossi’s bringing a commercial milk carton planted with three sweet basil. Dona Helena had previously told me that, even being a descendent of Italians, they didn’t have the herb or didn’t eat it. I was in search for artemisia absintum when the subject came about. But today, I wanted to get four liters of milk that come by two litters in the infamous re-used soft drink bottles. When I inquired about butter, she told me that she puts small amount of cream with cold water in the blender until it turned. She would wash it with baking soda, expel the excess water, and salt it. I wanted to know how to get cream. She collects it every day from boiled milk left in the refrigerator, and then freezes it until she has enough for butter making. The gentleman, her husband, told dona Helena to give me the frozen cream. Yes! Another gift!
I let the cream defreeze in the refrigerator, place it in the food processor (not in the blender), added some cold water, and let it run. I used a small amount first, but soon dropped the whole amount of cream. At first, it smelled like butter, but it looked just whipped. A few more minutes, the fat separated from the buttermilk. The butter was made! I used the food processor to wash the butter until the water came out clear. About four times. I just didn’t know how to expel water from it. I then used a cloth. I placed it in the refrigerator, and even though I can see the little wet spots, the butter looks and tastes so much like the ones store bought or the Amish made.
I don’t know how much milk it took to have that amount of cream, but the butter yielded by the cream was just slightly less than the amount of cream. The milk and water were expeled, but I believe, some amount of air must have been incorporated into the butter.
I had butter with homemade, wood fired stove bread made by dona Rosa (brought yesterday as a gift). Later, with French bread from a local bakery. This afternoon, I had it with tapioca (or biju), a gooey pancake-like mandioc starch bread.
The four litters of milk I bought is resting in the fridge without any further project for it. More butter? Or sweet cream? How about the skim milk? Yogurt.

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