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For Rural and City Living
Make a Butter Churn
Long gone are the days when having a butter churn was an essential piece of equipment for the household. Butter churns in the past were often homemade, as manufactured churns were too costly for most households. Butter churns work by separating the butter fat from the cream using some sort of impact. The impact device could be different types of wooden paddles or the churning vessel itself where the cream is basically beaten against the top and sides of the churn.
Traditional Butter Churns
A traditional butter churn consists of three parts; the holding vessel, a dasher and a lid. The holding vessel might be made out of wood, similar in design to a whiskey barrel, or be a large stoneware crock. The dasher is for the most part a long, round wooden dowel with flat, cross pieces of wood secured to the bottom. A wooden lid, fitted to the vessel with a center hole, to allow the dasher handle to protrude upwards, completed the churn. These are still the simplest types of churns to make, especially if you can find a large enough stoneware crock.
The tabletop churn is made by using a large, wide-mouth jar as the vessel. A lid for the jar includes a wooden or metal gear mechanism on the top that turns the dual paddles attached to the underside of the lid. The lid is then placed on the vessel and the gears are turned with a crank, which in turn, impacts the paddles to the cream. An excellent knowledge of woodwork or metal work is needed to make one of these types of butter churns.
Using Blenders and Mixers
With electricity and modern kitchen appliances, many people found that an electric hand mixer or blender to release them from the tedious chore of churning butter. By placing the cream in the blender jar or in a mixing bowl, these devices will easily "churn" the cream into butter in a matter of minutes.
The Simplest Churn
A very simple butter churn can be made with a glass jar that has a tight fitting lid. By filling the jar half full and shaking it violently for 10 to 15 minutes, you will make butter. This is often a great task to hand off to children as they enjoy watching the butter form in the cream and being the one that causes it to happen.
About the Cream
Cream should be allowed to come to room temperature before attempting to make butter in any type of churn. Cold cream takes much longer to churn. It is also recommended that the cream be at least a day old, which gives it time to "ripen". The resulting butter will taste more like butter purchased from the store.
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