Churning Homemade Butter From Scratch

How to start churning homemade butter from scratch at home with cream from raw milk. This is an old fashioned way to churn your own butter and make your own buttermilk!

Churning Butter

Butter is essential in our kitchen and we use several pounds a week with the amount of baking and cooking that we do. It goes with pretty much anything and makes any dish more delicious.

Of course, homemade butter is my preferred choice as I know exactly where the ingredients came from and the process for how it was made.

To make butter, I use only one device, a butter churn. However, I realize that not all homes may have a butter churn, but not all is lost.

Butter can also be made with an electric mixer, in a blender, or shaken in a mason jar. However, I prefer the texture and taste of the butter made in an old-fashioned butter churn.

It requires no electricity, and I love the vintage nostalgia of doing things the old way.

Where I Get Cream for Butter Made at Home

Every Saturday, I purchase several gallons of milk from a local farm. The milk I purchase comes from a local dairy that milks Guernsey cows and is safely sealed in plastic gallons.

Once I get the milk home, I transfer two of the gallons of milk into glass drink dispensers. After 24 hours, the cream rises to the top and the milk is left at the bottom.

During the week, we use the milk from the dispenser and the cream stays at the top. As we finish off a gallon of milk, I transfer the cream to a quart jar to use for making butter at some point during the week.

What is a Butter Churn?

A butter churn is a device that allows you to convert cream into butter. This is done through a mechanical process, frequently via a pole inserted through the lid of the churn, or via a crank used to turn a rotating device inside the churn. (source)

Basically, it is a vessel in which cream is agitated to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk.

Types of Butter Churns

Butter churns have existed for centuries. There are three historically prominent types of butter churns.

Plunge Churn

One is the plunge churn, which is a container made of wood with a staff inserted into the top. Butter was churned by pulling the staff up and down in a vertical motion.

Barrel Churn

A barrel churn was another type of churn where a barrel was turned on the side and a hand crank was attached. The crank turned the paddle, agitating the cream, converting it to butter.

For making butter in our home, I use an old fashioned wooden paddle butter churn. The wooden paddle is inside the glass container, attached to the underneath of the lid. The hand crank is on top of the churn.

Where to Find an Old Fashioned Wooden Handle Butter Churn

The butter churn we have in our home came from my grandmother on my husband’s side of the family. Most generally, old-fashioned antique butter churns are kept on a shelf as a display.

However, if in good shape, they are still very usable and therefore useful in the kitchen.

While antique butter churns may be hard to come by they can be found on sites like eBay.

New churns are also available on a homesteading site called, Roots and Harvest.

Dazy Churn Butter

How is Butter Made?

Before beginning the butter-making process, you have to have cream. You can purchase organic cream from the store or skim it off the top of raw milk.

When fresh cream is shaken, the fat molecules clump together. These clumped fat molecules separate from the liquid and this is where the butter is formed.

The liquid that is left after making homemade butter is called buttermilk which is perfect for pancakes and biscuits!

How Much Cream to Make a Pound of Butter

To make a pound of homemade butter, you will need one quart of cream. You will get about half as much butter as the amount of cream.

How Do You Make Butter With One Ingredient

Making homemade butter is so simple! It starts with one ingredient, cream, and then ends with two, butter and buttermilk.

Butter can not be made from milk or half and half.

Churning Raw Butter

Equipment and Ingredients

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You can find my favorite essentials can be located in my Amazon storefront. While I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, my pieces are usually vintage and thrifted. However, I try to find and link replicas as much as possible, made in the USA or by other small shops, as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

How to Make Raw Butter from Scratch

These are the simple steps to follow to make homemade butter just like a grandmother would have churned back in her day.

Enjoy homemade butter on hot brown buttermilk biscuits, delicious cast iron skillet cornbread, or fluffy sweet sourdough dinner rolls.

Step 1. Collect Cream

Collect 1 to 1 1/2 quarts of heavy cream. Use cream that is at least twenty-four hours old because it will churn much better.

In this post, I share how to separate the cream from raw milk. If you do not have raw cream, you can purchase high-quality organic cream from the market.

Step 2. Add Cream to Churn

Pour cream into a churn and sit it on the counter for thirty to sixty minutes, as this will make the transition time from cream to butter happen more quickly.

Step 3. Churn

Begin churning at a fairly fast pace, within fifteen to twenty minutes you should see that you now have clumps of butter. Once it becomes too difficult to turn the churn handle, stop.

Churning Butter from Scratch

Step 4. Pour off Buttermilk

What is left after the butter has been made is buttermilk. Pour off the buttermilk. I use a colander and a bowl to strain the butter from the buttermilk, put it in a jar, and store it in the fridge.

Buttermilk can be used in recipes, like Homemade Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits.

Step 5. Wash the Butter

As seen in the photo below, the butter will retain some of the buttermilk. To make the butter last longer the buttermilk needs to be washed out.  

Transfer the butter into a bowl, and add clean cold water into the bowl. Squeeze out the remaining buttermilk using a long wooden spoon, spatula, clean hands, or butter paddles.

The water will turn cloudy as the remaining buttermilk is worked from the butter. Drain and discard this dirty water, then repeat until the water in the bowl runs clear.

Working the buttermilk out of the butter is an essential step. It helps the butter keep longer.

How to Make Butter at Home

Step 6: Add Salt (optional)

To add more flavor to your butter, you can add salt. About 1/8 teaspoon is about right for a pound of butter. You might like it more or less salty, depending on your taste.

Step 7. Mold Butter

Mold butter in a butter press or empty it into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

Butter From Raw Milk

How to Store Homemade Butter

Store homemade butter in the refrigerator, or in the freezer (well wrapped) for longer-term storage. The butter will stay good for several days in the refrigerator.

How long home churned butter will last depends a lot on the age of the cream and how much of the buttermilk was rinsed away during the washing process.

Homemade butter is best eaten fresh, within a few days of making it. In our home, it never lasts long with all of the baking and cooking that we do.

Butter from Scratch

Homemade Butter Recipe

Yield: 1 pound

Churning Homemade Butter From Scratch

Churning Butter

How to start churning homemade butter from scratch at home with cream from raw milk. This is an old fashioned way to churn your own butter and make your own buttermilk!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Fresh or Organic Cream

Instructions

Step 1. Collect Cream

Collect 1 to 1 1/2 quarts of heavy cream. Cream must be at least twenty-four hours old to churn well. In this post, I share how to separate the cream from raw milk. But, if you do not have raw cream, you can purchase high quality organic cream from the market.

Step 2. Add Cream to Churn

Pour cream into a churn and sit it on the counter for thirty to sixty minutes, as this will make the transition time from cream to butter happen more quickly.

Step 3. Churn

Begin churning at a fairly fast pace, within fifteen to twenty minutes you should see that you have now have clumps of butter. Once it becomes too difficult to turn the churn handle, stop.

Step 4. Pour off Buttermilk

What is left after the butter has been made is buttermilk. Pour off the buttermilk. I use a colander and a bowl to strain the butter from the buttermilk, put it in a jar and store in the fridge. It can be used in recipes, like Homemade Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits.

Step 5. Wash the Butter

The butter will retain some of the buttermilk. To make the butter last longer the buttermilk needs washed out.

Transfer the butter into a bowl, and add clean cold water into the bowl. Squeeze out the remaining buttermilk using a long wooden spoon, spatula, clean hands or butter paddles. The water will turn cloudy as the remaining buttermilk is worked from the butter. Drain and discard this dirty water, then repeat until the water in the bowl runs clear.

Working the buttermilk out of the butter is an essential step. It helps the butter keep longer.

Step 6: Add Salt (optional)

To add more flavor to your butter, you can add salt. About 1/8 teaspoon is about right for a pound of butter. You might like it more or less salty, depending on your taste.

Step 7. Mold Butter

Mold butter in a butter press or empty into a glass container with a tight fitting lid.

How to Store Homemade Butter

Store homemade butter in the refrigerator, or in the freezer (well wrapped) for longer-term storage. The butter will stay good for several days in the refrigerator.

How long home churned butter will last depends a lot on the age of the cream and how much of the buttermilk was rinsed away during the washing process. Homemade butter is best eaten fresh, within a few days of making it. In our home, it never lasts long with all of the baking and cooking that we do.

Did you make this recipe?

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I hope that this post on churning homemade butter from scratch has been helpful! It is one of the best ways to make delicious butter with cream!

Thank you for sharing!

4 thoughts on “Churning Homemade Butter From Scratch”

  1. Butter is one of the best things that has ever happened to humanity. It goes with pretty much anything and makes any dish more flavorful. Of course, homemade butter is the best option since you know what’s in it..

    Reply
  2. Hi, just got my churn but I have a few questions
    – how long does the buttermilk keep and how to preserve it to keep longer if possible
    – sounds silly but how do you keep raw milk from making you sick? ( My mom grew up on a dairy farm but my grandpa transitioned to beef cattle before I was born)

    Thanks! So glad I found your page

    Reply
    • As long as you store buttermilk in an air-tight container in a cold fridge, it can last up two weeks.
      We have drank raw milk for a long time and have never gotten sick. I am not sure about your source of milk, but be sure that if you are getting it from a local farmer, you know your farmer. The equipment that is used to milk the cows should be clean and then the milk should be strained and refrigerated right away. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me.

      Reply

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