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?


mscrankypants said...

Everything in this post looks wonderful, and I can smell the sour dough bread and salted butter from here. I love when you make things from scratch as it's homely yet magical at the same time!

NKP said...

Beautiful, butter and baguette - my two best friends. ☺
I had lots of splatter too, even with the tea towel hanging over the mixer.
Great idea to use the buttermilk in the preferment - I have done it with whey but have never thought to use buttermilk.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Cranky - thank you!

Natashya - it really added a wonderful quality to the bread.

kat said...

Oh my gosh, I would be in butter heaven!

Caroline said...

Impressed as ever with the homemade cheese series. Love the makeshift splatter guard - looks like it was vital. I can imagine that I would just have redecorated my kitchen with the buttermilk instead ;-)

Love the texture of the bread and I really, really fancy the idea of those scones. It's too long since I had scones.

The Cat's Mother said...

everything looks so delicious - bread, butter, scones. Yum

Do you want a mixer for Christmas?

Choclette said...

Oh oh oh, I so loved the images and tastes conjured up in my mind from this post as well as your excellent photographs of course. Cultured butter sounds so good and how wonderful to have real buttermilk to use too. A long time ago, I used to make butter from shaking cream in a jar which worked fine, but it was only in small amounts. I think I might have to try cultured buttermilk - thank you for the thought.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kat - it was very luxurious!

C - I think these were the best scones I have ever made.

Mother - I am holding out for a Kitchen Aid, but if you wanted to make a contribution to the fund, it would be welcome!

Choclette - definitely do it! The things you could do with butter and buttermilk and chocolate would be amazing.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Gorgeous--the butter the bread and the scones. Looks like it was worth the hassle. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The butter and baguettes look great! I wanted to save the buttermilk for baking, too, but then I realized it was soooo yummy that I drank it plain with a little bit of sugar. Delicious!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Deb - this bread is my new favourite thing.

AP269 - I should have tried drinking it!

Wanda said...

Wow, those scones look yummy. What a good idea to make a plastic film spatter cover for your mixer. I am still looking for cream that isn't ultrapasteurized so I can make this butter!

Heather S-G said...

Seriously, I can just imagine the butter slathered gloriously all over a magnificent baguette. Omg, I just drooled a bit... And your scones look fabulous, too =)

veena said...

that's wonderful. Thanks for coming.Looking forward to forge more with you all :-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Wanda - I just cannot imagine life without access to fresh cream! That is so sad!

Heather - I knew the scones were good, but Paul has spontaneously said a couple of times since "hey, those scones you made were good". So I will be making them again.

Veena - lovely to have you on board, forging away!

Sam said...

Everything looks fantastic. Homemade butter on fresh baguettes, it doesn't get much better than that!

Caroline said...

Thanks for the scone inspiration, I finally got round to making some of my own!

Pretty good, but not the best I've ever made, and not as good as yours!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Sam - it is such a luxury!

C - Fresh raspberries, yum!


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