Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kitchen chemistry

I've been getting strangers to my blog lately, and I think it's because of a few comments I made around local blogs regarding the Eat Alberta event I attended over the weekend. Welcome to my blog! There are many awesome foodie blogs, local eater blogs, excellent photography and recipe blogs around. I'm not really one of those. I'm just, you know, me.

I don't really know why I've not been motivated to blog about the Eat Alberta thing. Don't get me wrong - it was really well done. I made sausage (and later ate it and immediately searched the web for sausage stuffer equipment), made brie, tasted local fruit wines and mead, ate more local cheese than anyone should eat in a day.

I had some interesting conversations with people who live on the edge of normal. Bees in the city? Why not? Chickens? Sure! Lactofermenting, kombucha, strawbale homes, homemade and locally sourced everything. These are my kind of people.

Here's a better blog post about the day than I can do. I made sausage and cheese with them. Walsh Cooks

I need to attend fewer events and improve my own practices, get my hands back in the dirt and DO stuff.

So, yesterday I did stuff.

It was cheap Tuesday at Save-On-Foods (15% off, for those non-local readers) and I stumbled upon very cheap whipping cream. I think it came to around $1.60/l before the 15% discount. The math on my receipt is messed up or I could tell you exactly. I bought the last 4 litres.

Now, that's a lot of cream and I can't drink that much coffee before it goes off, so I thought I'd do some kitchen chemistry. You've probably all made butter before, and it's certainly not rocket science, but I love watching the transformation of cream to whipped cream to butter. It's fun. I'd do it all the time, but it doesn't usually make financial sense.

My KitchenAid doesn't have the splatter guard, so I use a towel for this. Whip the whole litre on high speed.

After 5 minutes you have whipped cream. You can stop there if you like, or scoop some into your coffee now. We added sugar and pureed frozen fruit to one batch and froze it to see if it makes anything resembling ice cream. We'll test it after school and maybe report back.

At this point I usually grab a kid and force them to watch with me. "Look, look! It's starting to separate!" "Yeah,yeah, Mom. I've watched it before. It's not that exciting." But it is to me. I sometimes make butter when kid friends are over so that I can share my excitement with a newbie. Mine are jaded.

Keep whipping on high and this will start to happen. This is the cool part.

Keep whipping. It's not separated into the solids fully yet.

Now you've got butter! It takes exactly 10 minutes from carton to this stage.

I stopped taking pictures then because you've got to get your hands in there. Knead it a bit with your hands to release a bit more of the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk into jars. Run cold water over the solid butter and knead it some more. The more buttermilk you get out, the better your butter keeps. Add a bit of salt if you like (I do) and you're done.

15 minutes total from carton to finished butter and a clean kitchen again. I got 12 oz. of butter and 1 pint of buttermilk out of the each litre. I should make some sort of cake out of the buttermilk now. Only Yvon likes to drink it and I didn't run it through cheesecloth or anything so there are actual butter lumps in it.

I still have one full carton to use up. Any ideas?

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