Friday, April 20, 2012

Churning Butter with Lehman's Best

For years I have been oogling Dazey Butter churns in antique shops.  My love for old fashioned metal and glass kitchen implements nearly overcame my common sense on several occasions.  The older style butter churns have a wooden paddle and all I could think was: It will look great on the shelf but there is no way I would make butter in it because the paddle would never be clean enough for me!

Picture from

Enter Lehman's Best Butter Churn.  Brand new and modelled after the Dazey it has a metal paddle and a glass jar base so it will still look pretty on the shelf and it will be clean.

Lehman's Best Butter Churn

Before we continue we should have the "Is Butter Better?" discussion.   You can read the more technical reasons by clicking on the link but my simple answer is:  In our family we eat real food as often as possible albeit in limited quantities so we eat butter.  We also choose coconut oil and olive oil in some cases but margarine - regardless of the hype - is not on the grocery list.

Here's a sample of the article referenced above:

It's no longer a secret that the margarine Americans have been spreading on their toast, and the hydrogenated fats they eat in commercial baked goods like cookies and crackers, is the chief culprit in our current plague of cancer and heart disease.But mainline nutrition writers continue to denigrate butter--recommending new fangled tub spreads instead. These may not contain hydrogenated fats but they are composed of highly processed rancid vegetable oils, soy protein isolate and a host of additives. 

A glitzy cookbook called Butter Busters promotes butter buds, made from maltodextrin, a carbohydrate derived from corn, along with dozens of other highly processed so-called low-fat commercial products.

Who benefits from the propaganda blitz against butter? The list is a long one and includes orthodox medicine, hospitals, the drug companies and food processors. But the chief beneficiary is the large corporate farm and the cartels that buy their products--chiefly cotton, corn and soy--America's three main crops, which are usually grown as monocultures on large farms, requiring extensive use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. All three--soy, cotton and corn--can be used to make both margarine and the new designer spreads. In order to make these products acceptable to the up-scale consumer, food processors and agribusiness see to it that they are promoted as health foods. We are fools to believe them. 

The rest of the article is worth reading as well.

For my first butter churning event I chose to use 3 cartons of 35% Organic Meadow Whipping Cream - not exactly a financially sound way of doing things since my butter cost about $3.00 more than the equivalent amount of organic butter in the store but I consider $3.00 a good investment in my education.  

Churning took a little longer than I expected so after about a half hour while watching a movie I enlisted my sons help for a bit.  

I knew we were done when the the butter separated from the butter milk.  It's hard to see in the picture so just churn till your arm nearly falls off and you should be done!

Then I poured off the butter milk - saving it - and added cold water to the churn. I could hardly turn it at this point because the butter was getting really stiff.  I poured off the water again and dumped the remaining butter into a large bowl. Now it looked like butter.  I continued to rinse the butter with cold water using a large wooden spoon to press the butter against the side of the bowl to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk.  If the buttermilk doesn't get rinsed out the butter will sour very quickly.  This is the point when you decide if you want salted or unsalted butter - I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.

When it was done I had two mugs of buttermilk and two small mugs of butter.  We did taste testing immediately.  The buttermilk tasted like regular milk which surprised me because the buttermilk of my childhood was thick and NOT-MY-FAVORITE.

The butter tasted great - just like butter should - amazing isn't it.  I kept thinking about the many times I have had whipped cream on's kinda like eating pie with a 1/2 pound of butter on top - ha.   

Of course you could skip the fancy churn and just put the cream in a large glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake it for 1/2 hour or do what the early cowboys did - put the jar in their saddle packs and by the end of a long day of riding the butter would be churned!...of course that would require buying a horse so maybe the butter churn was a cheap way to go after all!

So perhaps the real question is - Why bother making your own butter?  Besides the educational value of knowing that cream turns into butter and that organic grass-fed resulting butter is nutritionally superior to margarine (and even conventional butter) and besides that it was a fun experiment...

...It's one of the things I'll need to know how to do when we buy a cow or start milking the sheep - and DH I'm only half kidding.  I wonder if cows come in white with red spots?


  1. Shorthorned cattle does. ;) They are primarily a beef breed, but they are one of the more prolific milkers in the beef breed. I've heard though never seen that they have a Milking Shorthorn too.

  2. That's a beautiful looking butter churn! About 50 years ago, on my Grandparent's farm, us kids used to take turns churning butter in a floor model which we just had to 'rock'.....for a long time (I talk about it in my January blogPost "Food for the Winter Soul"). Since then, I've made butter in a mason jar (with the help of my young children) from organic milk I used to buy several times a week from a friend. I usually used the buttermilk in my baking

  3. Just got an antique model from my cousin and made our first batch. Loved it!


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