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I‘m picky about butter. If it’s going on bread, especially, I want the highest quality butter I can find. Even expensive butter sometimes doesn’t seem as fresh as I’d like.
When I came across the story on this page about making your own butter, I knew I had to try it.
I’ve made butter before. When I was young, my family had a Jersey cow (Elsie?) for a brief time that we milked by hand, and I have a memory of making butter in a glass churn with a handle that turned a wooden paddle inside.The glass allowed you to see the whole process, and I remember being very impressed by the whole process.
I haven’t tried to make butter as an adult, although once during a failed attempt to make whipped cream I’m pretty sure I came very close to creating butter.
I was hoping to compare the Mason jar method with the food processor method. Former Salisbury Post food writer Sara Pitzer advised me that she’s tried both ways and has gotten better results with the Mason jar.
I’m sorry to say that my attempt to make butter in my food processor was a disaster, but that was only because there was a crack in the bowl that I wasn’t aware of.
Where is a cat when you need one?
After I cleaned up that mess, it was time to break out the Mason jar.
I filled the jar about halfway with cream, put the lid on tightly and started to shake. I figured five minutes of shaking would be pretty easy, and it was. I was absorbed by watching Bruce Jenner on a morning show and wondering wistfully why he’s altered his face in such distressing ways.
But five minutes of shaking turned into six. Then 10.
After about 15 minutes I started to despair. Had my cream been too cold? Was I doing something wrong? It seemed that all I had was a jar full of whipped cream.
I kept going. I was starting to sweat.
Finally, as I was seriously considering dumping the whole mess in the trash and going back to work, I heard a lovely sloshing sound. Could it be? Was that a clump of butter swimming around in buttermilk? Yes, yes it was!
I poured out the liquid and plopped the beautiful, pale yellow butter into a bowl. I kneaded the butter briefly to squeeze out a bit more liquid and then formed it into a mound on a pretty plate.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any hot, crusty bread to go with it, but even by itself, the butter was delicious, although I should have added a bit of salt.
I’m not sure I’d make butter very often, but I would certainly go to the trouble for special meals. In fact, I think making butter in a Mason jar would be a great Thanksgiving tradition for families with children who like to help in the kitchen.
But don’t dare serve it with heat-and-serve rolls from the grocery store. Homemade butter deserves homemade bread — or better yet, biscuits.

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