Making Butter by Hand… Rockpool Sydney

Written on 9th June 2011
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For the past couple of months here at Rockpool Sydney, Phil has been making his own butter to go with the sourdough bread that they are also making in-house. There is something satisfying about making something thay you would normally purchase off the shelf, and invariably it is always better.

Butter, essentially, is cream that has been whipped until is is stuffed! As an apprentice, I did make butter once – accidentally… Chef wasn’t happy, and I didn’t make that mistake again. The butter they are making here at Rockpool starts the night before, when cream is mixed with yoghurt and left overnight to culture. This gives the resulting butter a distinctive tang. The butter making process takes about 5 hours the next day from start to finish, and it is definitely worth it. The butter has such a fresh flavour, far superior to any store bought butter.

Not Quite Nigella has just written an excellent blog on making your own butter (with much better photography!) and it’s a great read as well. 

So, after a night of culturing, the cream and yoghurt mixture is whisked by hand until the buttermilk begins to separate out.

Here you see the cream beginning to separate.

After much whisking and a sore arm, the buttermilk has finally separated out.

Switching over to the wooden spoon, the butter is pushed to one side.

The buttermilk is strained off and set aside. This will be used for the Rockpool sourdough (blog coming soon) or for making fresh ricotta. The yeild for the butter is about 40% of its original weight in cream and yoghurt, after all the buttermilk has been removed.

Stage one completed – butter has been formed, but still contains some buttermilk which will need to be removed.

The butter is chilled in iced water for 30 minutes, to allow it to partially set.

The butter is then massaged in a bowl of cold water, releasing more of the excess buttermilk. The water is drained off, then the process is repeated over and over until the water runs clear.

When there is no more buttermilk left in the butter, it is drained and refrigerated for 1 hour.

After chilling down, paper towel is used to pick up any remaining liquid in the butter.

The butter is then whipped until it is pale and creamy.

The final butter is weighed and then 1.5% of its weight in Murray River Sea Salt is added and gently folded through, trying to keep the crystals whole.

The final product is transferred to a ramekin and stamped – a nice touch. 20 hours after the process began, the butter is ready to be served to our customers.