Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Butter-making - home churns and utensils

Home butter-making took time and energy, but only needed simple equipment. Low-tech methods were still well-known in rural parts of developed countries like the USA in the mid-20th century. In the UK it became less common for ordinary families to make their own butter in the course of the 19th century, but the old ways were still used on small farms and in the dairies belonging to grand houses.

After the cow(s) were milked, the milk was left to settle in a cool place, in shallow dishes, or pancheons, so the cream would rise to the top. (Unless the butter was to be made from whole milk: less common than making it from cream.) Brass and earthenware dishes were used in the UK in the 17th and 18th centuries, with earthenware becoming gradually more popular, as brass sometimes tainted the flavor.

After half a day or so, the cream was skimmed off and put ready for the churn. Small home producers would want to collect a few days of milking to have enough cream to be worth churning, and a little fermentation would "ripen" the flavour. But the cream couldn't be left waiting too long in summer-time.

Moving the cream constantly is the churning that actually produces butter by separating out the yellow fat from the buttermilk. Simply shaking it in a closed jamjar for an hour or so will work, or you can swing unseparated milk in an animal skin hung on sticks, an ancient method still used in some parts of the world.

Read more on Butter Making by visiting Old and Interesting...
(A special thank you to Old and Interesting for this information)

Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!