This isn't something I would make on a regular basis, but it IS perfect for very special occasions (try mixing in your favorite herbs or spices). It is also a fun project you can do with your kids.
All it takes is some heavy whipping cream + salt, + a stand mixer + 15 minutes .... and "hocus-pocus", you will have butter!!
Start out with a quart of ICE COLD heavy whipping cream
Whip it, on medium high, in your stand mixer, using the wire whisk attachment. It will try and splatter a little, so I usually cover my whole mixer with a dish towel.
Whip until you get nice stiff peaks, like this (should take about 4-5 minutes.
Now this next step is where the "butter" starts to happen. Change from your whisk to your paddle attachment. Let the mixture beat for a few more minutes (at medium high speed,)and it will start to look a little more yellow and it will "loosen up" considerably. This is when you need to make a serious plastic wrap cover for the top of your bowl because it starts to splash.
The mixture will start to separate like this:
After it has whipped a little longer, the mixture will completely "break down" and separate, like this: (click on the photo to get a better look).
Although this liquid is called buttermilk, it is very thin and nothing like commercial buttermilk.
You are now done with the whipping stage (the whole process takes about 12-15 minutes) but there are a couple more steps:
Put the butter into a strainer, and drain off the liquid, It will look like this:
Rinse the "chunks" under VERY COLD running water (the water will not effect the butter as long as it is very cold). Squeeze the pieces together as you rinse the butter. You are basically trying to rinse out any little pockets of milk liquid.
Finally you have butter !!
A quart of heavy cream will make 10 ounces of delicious butter. It will keep in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze it.
This sounds like a LOT of steps, but they are really
very simple and straight forward.