Butter has been around since ancient times. People used it as a way to preserve fresh cream from their cows. In some places, people also make butter from cream they get from water buffalo, sheep, goats, and yaks.
Katie Phelan went to culinary school to learn all about food and cooking. She started making butter a few years ago. But she and butter go back a long way. When she was growing up, she worked on a farm at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The family she worked for made butter. But not to eat—to oil the saddles for their horses!
You can make butter for eating (or for oiling your saddle), too. Just be sure you use regular pasteurized cream instead of ultra-pasteurized, which won’t work. Also know that you should wash your butter very well, until the water runs clear. You want to make sure no buttermilk remains, since it will quickly start to turn rancid. Be sure to write in with descriptions and pictures of your results!
The super pictures of butter-making below were drawn by Katie. You can find her here.
To read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s description of butter making, check out Little House in the Big Woods from your local library.