Search This Blog

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cultured Butter, Ferdies and Christmas Cards

We are in the process of restocking our supplies of cultured butter. This involves looking for every opportunity to skim some cream of the bulk milk supply. For the last couple of months when the 20 litres of milk is collected it goes into the stainless steel milk vat and sits in the refrigerator overnight.

We both agreed that lattes on skim milk taste too watery as does a cup of tea with skim milk. Our drinking milk is removed before the vat goes into the refrigerator. The overnight chilling sets a thick layer of cream (would be better if it was Jersey milk) which we take off and add a souring culture. This is is left out of the refrigerator to warm up and sour. Usually the souring takes about 24 to 36 hours depending on the ambient temperature.

Our old food processor is ideal for butter making. It is getting a bit and old some components are held together with ducting tape but it's good for now. By chance we found that chilled soured cream turns quicker than warm soured cream. Running the processor at a low speed is the best. Too fast and when the cream turns to butter there tends to be a lot of splashing and the butter milk comes out creating a nasty mess.
A few rinses in cold water and some patting afterwards is all that is needed before packing and freezing. A small dated label is inserted in the container or affixed to the outside to ensure stock turnover.
The milk form today went on to make a good batch of Fetta - skimmed Fetta. Must be healthy.

The Ferdies (after Ferdinand the duck in Babe) are growing rapidly. They started sleeping in their outside pen at 13 days and adapted easily. At 15 days old their growth rate is spectacular. They have settled into a routine of a morning walk with Jean from their outside pen around the house to sit with her while she has a breakfast cup of tea then back again. There is a much longer walk later in the morning to let out the chooks and then an evening stroll. These walks exhaust them and afterwards they are quite happy to go back into their pen and rest occasionally hopping up en masse to cavort in their water containers.
Wacky is the little one on the left
They started arriving about 2 weeks ago, the cards that is. A Real Estate agent we have never met has sent us a card for the last 15+ years. I don't know why. We must have left our name and address with him once but I can't recall. Then there is Jeans friend in Victoria. Hers is beautifully hand made with photographs of their rural property and animals carefully orchestrated across all the pages.
This coming week a former work mate of Jean's will send us her annual round up of the family printed on 2 or 3 closely spaced pages. Always and interesting read. A former work colleague of mine from the mid 1990's still sends a card with a picture of her family. That family is a long, happy story. And then there are a couple of others from business's we dealt with (or didn't) and some friends or associates.
Eventually the shelf above the fireplace builds up a respectable collection of cards. You see this is amazing as we have never sent out a Christmas card to anyone ever. I admit quite few years ago there were some cards from other people but they stopped when we never responded. We are just not net-workers. It's just not on the radar or in our make-up to tick off a contact with everyone we know on a regular basis.
Some people are good at it and we envy them. And its not as if we are not social people. Send an email and you'll get a long reply. Ask us over for a meal or drink and we're there loaded with goodies - first to arrive and last to leave. Our speciality is weddings, we'll dance all night.
But us send Christmas cards? Just doesn't happen. By the way in the stationary drawer there is a wad of RSPCA Christmas cards from 20 years ago – unopened. Yes we are a bit different.


  1. I made butter by hand a few times, couldn't get the food processor settings right, but then I got an ice cream maker instead, so there goes all the cream! I wondered if u add salt, I find butter goes rancid without it, but maybe not if its already sour, or do you eat it too quickly? We don't bother with xmas cards either, my parents send out hindreds!

    1. Hi Liz, We don't use salt but we keep the storage container sizes small and freeze all the containers except for the one in use which usually lasts a few days to a week in the fridge. When I say lasts I mean before it is fully consumed. I agree with you souring probably helps (Type B culture from Cheeselinks). As to the food processer. A few things seem to affect the process such as age of the cream (I think the less fresh the easier), the temperature (based on the last batch colder is better) and souring seems to aid the process as well (which would line up with the age bit. I've fiddled a lot with churning speed but feel that slower is better. The real attraction to us of automating is that there is more time to do all the other things and butter making becomes a background task. You just reminded me that butter making needs to be suspended as we move into ice cream season. Thanks for your interest. Best wishes.