Friday, 27 August 2010
Forging Fromage - cultured butter
The latest cheesy challenge for the Forging Fromage blogging group is European- style cultured butter.
It is a seemingly-straightforward process of ripening some cream with some active yoghurt, whipping it until it separates and then kneading it in iced water. A process that is almost infinitely more straightforward if you have a stand mixer, or some kind of electric whisk where you DON'T have to hold down the button for the full 10 minutes. As the cream started to break down, it also started to make a heck of a mess, only partially controlled by my makeshift clingfilm spatter guard.
You know, it makes me wonder about all those recipes that caution you not to overwhip cream. It takes a bloody long time until it starts to break down, so I don't know what they are worried about.
I skimmed the butter out of the buttermilk, washed and kneaded it, and lightly salted it. I divided my butter into two logs, and froze one.
Smeared with a lavish hand onto sourdough toast, it was delicious. Still tasting very much of good cream, with just a hint of salt, the culture gave it a very delicious subtle tang.
I think, however, that my butter experience reached its pinnacle, zenith, apogee when smeared (again with a lavish hand) onto hot, fresh cherry & buttermilk scones. These scones are sheer bliss. Subtly sweet with fat juicy chunks of fresh cherry, a bit of tang from the buttermilk (leftover from making the butter) and a crunch from the demerera sugar on top.
Sadly I only made half a batch.
The rest of the buttermilk was hardly wasted though - I used it to make some lovely baguette, following Natashya's recipe. Using the buttermilk instead of water for the preferment gave it a lovely tangy flavour, and I think added to the excellent texture the crumb had. I only baked a quarter of the dough - the rest is in balls in the freezer, waiting for the right moment. I think the right moment may involve some cultured butter, don't you agree?