400ml - 500ml sour cream (see Notes)
1 tsp cooking salt
1 food processor or stand mixer
1 bowl (preferably glass or ceramic type, or use the mixer bowl)
jug for holding buttermilk
Spatula or butter pats
Place the sour cream in the bowl and process on low speed. I used a food processor with plastic mixing blade, but anything that will agitate the cream will do. Processing goes in stages.
First, the cream retains its consistency for around three to five minutes, then it will start to stiffen as whipped cream does. If you're going to salt your butter, this is a good time to sprinkle in the salt. Now the stiffened cream will go round and round for what seems like ages, but stay with the machine. All of a sudden, it'll all "break" into butter and buttermilk. Huge splashings of buttermilk and much hilarity will ensue if you didn't have a bit of a lid over the food processor or left the pusher out of the feed tube... %)
Once you have the split cream, that's pretty much it - no need to process further, it really does all break at once. Using a spatula, press the butter up against the side of the bowl, collecting as many flecks of butter as you can into one large clump. Empty the buttermilk into the jug, and proceed to squeeze the pockets and bubbles of buttermilk out of the butter.
|This much buttermilk left over after processing.|
|What the butter looks like right after the cream splits.|
|Using pats to squeeze buttermilk out of the butter.|
Once squeezed out, the buttermilk won't recombine with the butter too easily, so that makes the process relatively easy, just process the butter in small portions, roll and squeeze (either with the butter pats or with the spatula against the side of the bowl) until no more buttermilk droplets weep out, then lay each batch portion on waxed paper or a plate.
Form as desired, refrigerate. (We used tiny 2" loaf tins lined with waxed paper, then put the wrapped portions in the fridge. You can use a butter form, a dish, or anything else you come up with to hold the butter.
"Cultured" butter is made with sour cream and has a tangy taste, ideal for buttering hors d'oeuvre etc. Do the same thing with normal cream or thickened cream for normal butter, and of course, the less processed the cream (i.e. the less thickeners congeners etc it has) the healthier will be your butter and buttermilk.)
Use the buttermilk for cooking, drink it, or perhaps add it to the milk before making cheese - I'm not sure the latter will work, but perhaps someone's done it or knows what would happen, please leave a comment...