Here is what you will need to make the butter the traditional way…
2½ – 3 tbsp active culture yogurt
Lots of ice cubes
A jug of water
How to procure heavy cream or malai: Boil the fresh milk (i do it on low heat) and let it rise nearly to the brim before switching off the heat. Cool and refrigerate the milk. Cream will form a thick layer on the top and cover the surface of milk. Skim it off and store in a container.
To begin the process of a making butter the traditional way, you need to turn the cream into fermented curd or yogurt. This will take at least 4-5 hours; the time will actually vary from place to place. For details on how to make curd, read the Yogurt post.
Once the cream has turned into yogurt, churn the chilled curd using hand blender (if you have a sturdy one) or a kitchen aid mixer or food processor to derive butter from the fermented cream.
When you begin with, the cream will appear terribly thick and difficult to churn. Gradually it will loosen and become easier to work with. Continue churning it till you see lumps of butter floating in liquid. This liquid is the buttermilk.
Add the ice cubes to a jug of water and ensure that the water is nearly chilled. Add one third cup of water to the butter and buttermilk mix.
Scoop out the butter from the buttermilk (you may need to use clean hands to do a better job at this) and squeeze out buttermilk. Take some chilled water from the jug into a separate container. Give the butter a rinse in the cold water. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times. Once the water runs clear, remove the excess water and store the butter in a container; refrigerate soon after.
Yield : Half a kilo of cream yields approximately 275-300 grams of butter. Rest is buttermilk.
You can turn simple white butter into Compound Butter or Beurre composé, as the French call it, by adding herbs or spices of your choice. The result is a gourmet-ish butter that adds a whole new dimension to the dish and gives is a beautiful flavor.
The options are endless…you can use strong flavors such as that of garlic or ginger. Sun dried tomatoes with basil will give it an Italian spin. Add finely chopped green chilies or crushed pepper corns, curry powder or paprika for a spicy hit. Herbs such cilantro, chives, parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil work great (and why not try curry leaves!)and for a zing, add zest and juice of any citrus fruit or lemon. Even nuts are not a bad idea! J
Compound butter is multipurpose in its utility…
It is great with a piece of grilled steak or fish.
Rub whole chicken with compound butter before roasting and pop in some inside the cavity too for a chicken bursting with flavors.
Instead of serving the jacket potatoes with plain butter adorn it with compound butter.
Pep up your corn on cob with some compound butter.
You could add a little to your bowl of soup.
Pop some, over savory crepes.
Enjoy it with crispy snappy bread sticks or crackers.
OR Add some cinnamon or saffron or vanilla or cardamom with finely chopped nuts of your choice and simply slather some over your favorite bread slice or with pancake or waffle.
You can even add fruits of our choice to make compound butter and use it for the same purpose as above.
I used the following herbs and spices to make this compound butter that is of utility in my house and which I often use to saute prawns and veggies. I slather it on slices of bruschetta before popping them in the oven to toast.
100 grams White Butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cracked pepper (i used green and red pepper corns)
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic (grated)
Mix everything together and using a cling wrap, roll the butter to form a log. Chill the butter and then remove the log from the cling wrap, slice and use.
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