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Making Butter, Buttermilk, and Yogurt

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  • Making Butter, Buttermilk, and Yogurt

    Fellow Survivalists,

    By offline request from Lostinoz, and after rummaging around my magazines and books, I include here recipes for butter, buttermilk, and yogurt.

    First off, Butter and Buttermilk. Butter is just the fat portion derived from heavy cream and buttermilk is the liquid that is left behind after extracting the butter-fat.

    To get butter and buttermilk, you need heavy cream that has sat between 12 to 24 hours and is around 60 Degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher or lower temperature will make the butter take longer to "come" from the cream or won't allow it to "come" at all. Also, you want the cream to be moderately sour, which means not sweet, yet not so sour that it has rainbow-colored mold on top.

    While it is possible to derive butter from whole milk, the amount is too miniscule for the effort involved, so stick to heavy cream.

    The bare-minimum utinsils you'll need are: a large jar, a manual or electric blender capable of reaching to the bottom of the jar, a collander lined with coffee filters, a bowl larger than the collander, spatulas and spoons to use as butter paddles, paper cupcake holders to use as butter molds and a cupcake tray.


    Fill the large scaled-clean jar about 1/3rd the way with heavy cream that meets the conditions above. 1/3rd full makes for the easiest blending. The butter bulks up and fills the container as it blends, so to put any more than half a jar in will cause overflowing. Insert the manual or electric blender and proceed to churn the heavy cream constantly non-stop. After 20 minutes, the first curds of butter should start to separate from the heavy cream and float to the top, leaving buttermilk on the bottom. Keep churning even after this point to assure that every bit of butter-fat is separated from every drop of buttermilk in the heavy cream. Once butter bits are the size of wheat grains, you can stop churning.

    Once you've stopped churning, place your collander with coffee filters into the larger bowl, pour separate butter-fat and buttermilk into the collander to let the buttermilk strain out. After this initial buttermilk has strained out, you may bottle it and saving for baking and drinking.

    Then, you run cold water through the butter-fat remaining in the collanderwhile working the butter-fat with fingers, spoons, and spatulas, to get out additional buttermilk contained in the globules of butter-fat. The cold-water/buttermilk mix is not as strong as the initial buttermilk and is best used for the hog trough to let nothing go to waste. Continue to work and knead the buttermilk out of the butter-fat under several runnings of cold water until the cold water runs out of the collander clear.

    After working all buttermilk out of the butter-fat, work salt into the butter, both to add flavor and to preserve the butter. (Some people soak butter balls in a brine thick enough to float an egg and some even coat butter in pure salt as a preservative.) Then, when finished with this, flatten and paddle butter into paper cupcake holders held in a cupcake pan, then chill until it is solid. Then cut off a piece, use on bread or in your favorite recipe, and enjoy!

    You should be able to get between 2.5 to quarts of buttermilk and one pound of butter for every gallon of heavy cream. Butter can stay at room temperature for a time, but it is not recommended if the room is 80 Degrees or above.

    Now, for Yogurt. Get a container of plain, unflavored yogurt with live active yogurt cultures. Take a couple of tablespoonsful of this plain yogurt and place it in a scalded-clean but cooled-off one-quart sized Stanley Stainless Steel Thermos.

    Then, take about 1 quart of whole milk, place in a scalded-clean 1 gallon-sized pot over a stove while using a kitchen probe thermometer to measure the temperature. Turn up the heat of the milk until it reaches the boiling point of water (212 Degrees Fahrenheit.)

    Watch the milk well to insure that it doesn't boil over the pot and spill into the burners, as burnt milk is an awful smell.

    After the milk has reached the boiling point, place the pot of boiling milk into a sink of cold water until the temperature of the milk is exactly 100 Degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, pour the boiled-and-cooled down milk into the Stanley Stainless Steel Thermos with the couple spoonfuls of yogurt with live, active cultures.

    Cover the top of the the Stanley Stainless Steel Thermos with its lid, but let the lid be loose enough to allow air to flow through. Set the Thermos aside for 12 hours and Presto! When you look inside the Thermos, you'll see that the quart of milk has been transformed by the live active yogurt cultures into a quart of yogurt!

    Yogurt is not only good to eat by itself in its soft form, but also frozen and/or mixed with fruit or cereal. Moreover, you can put yogurt in a collander lined with coffee filters, drain off the liquid to use as a skin conditioner, and what remains is a yogurt cheese similar to cream cheese or the Brummel and Brown Natural Yogurt Spread.

    And best yet, as long as you set aside a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt from each batch, you can always make another batch in short order, and as long as you keep making yogurt, the live culture continues forever. Many families of Armenian and other nationalities who make yogurt a regular diet staple have passed down live yogurt cultures for multiple generations, much like some Western U.S. pioneer families have passed down live sourdough bread starter yeast for multiple generations.

    So there you have them: Butter, Buttermilk, and Yogurt, three great dairy products that you can make for yourself in the city or in the country to inhance and complete your survival and prepper larder.

    My sources:

    "How to Make Cheese and Butter" by Dynah Geissal, Backwoods Home Magazine, July/August 1993, pp. 41-44.

    The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery,10th Edition, pp.808-810, Copyright 1994, 2003, 2008.

    The Best of Abbie Hoffman by Abbie Hoffman, Copyright 1988(?).

    Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Tradtional American Skills by The Staff of Reader's Digest, Copyright 1979.
    Last edited by TheUnboundOne; 03-13-2009, 03:51 AM. Reason: Added punctuation and verbiage.
    "Apocalypse is by no means inevitable." --Jim Rice.

  • #2
    Thank you, Unbound! I thought maybe you had forgotten my request. :) I am going to print this out and put it in my binder. I now have a weekend project. :D


    • #3
      how many of use grew up doing this? we did.,,, everyweek
      more people need to learn the simple ways again
      Go ahead and run, you'll only die tired


      • #4
        Canning Butter

        Good info, gonna try to make yoghurt!

        Got this recipe online, have NOT tried it yet. All of my canning jars are the quart size, so looking for pint jars. Figure if it works, will jar up about 40 lbs, since it makes oatmeal, cream of wheat, and tortillas so much more enjoyable.

        Canning Butter
        1. Use any butter that is on sale. Lesser quality butter requires more shaking (see #5 below), but the results are the same as with the expensive brands.

        2. Heat pint jars in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes, without rings or seals. One pound of butter slightly more than fills one pint jar, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars. A roasting pan works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven.

        3. While the jars are heating, melt butter slowly until it comes to a slow boil. Using a large spatula, stir the bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes at least: a good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #5 below). Place the lids in a small pot and bring to a boil, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.

        4. Stirring the melted butter from the bottom to the top with a soup ladle or small pot with a handle, pour the melted butter carefully into heated jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave 3/4" of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process.

        5. Carefully wipe off the top of the jars, then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring and tighten securely. Lids will seal as they cool. Once a few lids "ping," shake while the jars are still warm, but cool enough to handle easily, because the butter will separate and become foamy on top and white on the bottom. In a few minutes, shake again, and repeat until the butter retains the same consistency throughout the jar.

        6. At this point, while still slightly warm, put the jars into a refrigerator. While cooling and hardening, shake again, and the melted butter will then look like butter and become firm. This final shaking is very important! Check every 5 minutes and give the jars a little shake until they are hardened in the jar! Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.

        7. Canned butter should store for 3 years or longer on a cool, dark shelf. [It does last a long time. We have just used up the last of the butter we canned in 1999, and it was fine after 5 years.] Canned butter does not "melt" again when opened, so it does not need to be refrigerated upon opening, provided it is used within a reasonable length of time.

        A lovely glow seems to emanate from every jar. You will also be glowing with grateful satisfaction while placing this "sunshine in a jar" on your pantry shelves.
        "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012


        • #5

          I'm glad I could be of service. My apologies for the delay. As I indicated offline, ever since everybody moved their clocks forward, I haven't slept right or felt right since, but in between work time, I persevered and found the recipes.

          I hope everything works out alright.

          Something else you might want to know if you want to make butter on a larger scale than what I did: There are farmer's churns available with bungholes near the bottom for letting the buttermilk out as you finish churning. Combined with tubing and containers to catch the buttermilk, a churn with a bunghole would make the process of pressing buttermilk out of butter-fat much more efficient and help extract more buttermilk.

          Also, after using the Stanley Stainless Steel Thermos to make yogurt, clean it with a long-bristled dishwashing brush to get out all residue on the bottom and in the grooves of the top of the Thermos.
          "Apocalypse is by no means inevitable." --Jim Rice.


          • #6

            You wrote:

            how many of use grew up doing this? we did.,,, everyweek
            more people need to learn the simple ways again
            I agree wholeheartedly...and I am a small city-boy who makes these dairy products on a catch-as-catch-can basis. I love every minute of the process and I especially take pride in the end result. Family members have tasted and enjoyed my products too.
            "Apocalypse is by no means inevitable." --Jim Rice.


            • #7
              Howdy, Skyowl's Wife!

              Thank you for passing along the instructions for canning butter. I knew you could can many things, including whole Pasteurized milk, but I didn't think about the possibility of canning butter. This is a learning experience for everybody! Much obliged!

              "Apocalypse is by no means inevitable." --Jim Rice.


              • #8
                Most welcome!

                I look forward to trying it, have 11 pounds of butter and pint canning jars on tomorrow's shopping list. Have checked 3 of my usual haunts for jars and no joy, so we are going out of town for them. Don't want to have to order them online if I don't have to.
                "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012