I am a Butter Expert

Last night at dinner we started talking about making butter. I don’t know why. I think J started it by asking, “What’s butter made of?”

Milk, Cute W and I answered. You just churn the butter and the fat in the milk sort of clots together to form butter. Maybe that’s what I said, because Cute W seemed to take issue with the “just.”

“It takes FOREVER,” he said.

“It doesn’t take forever,” I insisted. “It takes a while, but not forever.”

“It takes FOREVER,” he repeated.

“NO, it doesn’t,” I argued.

“Like you’re some kind of butter expert,” Cute W said.

“Umm, actually, I am a butter expert,” I said. “How many of us here have churned butter more than five times?” I raised my hand. “There: you see? I am the Resident Butter Expert.”

“Well, expert, it takes a long time.”

“Excuse me, but when I was at the Dyckman Farmhouse, I managed to get a whole class full of kids to churn a bunch of butter and I served it on Saltines and taught them butter facts, all in about 45 minutes,” I boasted. Now that I’m typing it, maybe the butter churning tour was an hour and a half? No, I bet that I spent 45 minutes walking around the house and 45 minutes on the back porch churning the butter. . .  hmm. . . .

“Okay,” I conceded. “I am used to an actual churn. But it can be done in a jar.”

I knew J would want to churn butter. In fact, she wanted to churn butter immediately. Meanwhile M ran away and returned with one of my business cards. She had scratched out Editor & KidsOutAndAbout and replaced them with Butter Expert & Farmhouse. Then she added a note to the flip side of the business card: “Butter. When cheese just isn’t enough.” Cute W and I both found this hilarious.

We were still laughing when we realized that J had poured the rest of Cute W’s whole milk, reserved especially for his morning coffee, into a jam jar. Nope, we said. It was time for bed, so she’d have to pop it into the fridge until tomorrow.

And so it was that I was yanked out of my delightful slumber when J leaped onto my bed at 6:50 am, madly shaking a jar. She was already up, yes. And dressed. She’d eaten. She’d been shaking for a while already. Okay, a long time. A pessimist might call it “forever,” but it clearly wasn’t forever. . . yet.

We took turns shaking as I made lunches. Man, it was taking a long time. It was almost time to leave for school when we salvaged just a smidgen’s worth of butter to coat two Salines. J was triumphant. M kept looking and saying that it was gross, but then she asked for a Saltine, too. Too late, Cute W said, “Oh, you should have taken a picture!”



  1. Big Sister

    How about making yogurt? Yogurt is practically effortless. Or cheese using cheese cloth? I have to say as soon as you said CHURN, I thought MOB CAP! I can totally see you and little Miss J. in mother and daughter mob caps.

  2. @Big Sister, I’ve heard that yogurt and cheese aren’t too tough to make. . . maybe when the schedule eases up. I’m sure that we would rock mob caps.

  3. Aliza

    I thought you needed heavy cream to make butter, and the remaining milk is buttermilk, right? I think I’ve done this with my older kids before my slacker-mom days…..

  4. @Aliza, well, it’s the milk fat, so heavy cream is easier, but J wanted to make it immediately so whole milk was the best we had.
    @jo anne, and fresh-churned is really good. But I don’t think it’s on the cleanse!

  5. Christine

    I make butter with my class every year around Thanksgiving. They LOVE it! Heavy cream is the ticket and it really doesn’t take all that long….just gotta keep shakin’! It is definitely the BEST butter EVER when it’s fresh!

  6. Jennifer

    Yogurt is super easy to make, especially in a croc pot. I have found that you end up with way more than my family can reasonably consume. We were swimming in yogurt!

  7. @Jennifer, oh, I’ll have to give it a try. But my kids are so unpredictable with yogurt–one week they can’t get enough, the next they turn up their noses. . . .

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