Post image for Homemade Cultured Butter Pressed with a Hand-carved Butter Mold

Homemade Cultured Butter Pressed with a Hand-carved Butter Mold

by Laura on March 1, 2011

My Norwegian grandfather had something of a love affair with butter; he loved a pool in which to cook an egg or some hash, or a thick smear on toast.  But mostly, it was his tableside companion at every home-cooked dinner I can remember eating with him, and he was not shy with it.  A dinnertime ritual, stick of soft butter at his side, he would take a swipe of butter for his roll, cloverleaf or farmhouse, a drag through the gravy, pheasant or duck, and pop the mouthful into his gob, happy as a lad.  He ate the better part of the stick.  I always had the chair next to him, and I can remember being acutely aware of the butter, the generous sweep, his mouth full of butter, and another dip, and another, the roll disappearing, and the butter stick a little smaller with every bite.  He would have loved this recipe.

I haven’t made butter since I was a schoolgirl, and I can remember the first time I did quite vividly.  We shook little jars filled with cream until it separated into butter and buttermilk, and I was spellbound.  It’s funny, really, the small moments that we remember.  I can tell you the rules around the graham crackers and milk we ate at nursery school, about the details of the first fig cookie I ever ate, too.

I was ordering some cookie molds last month, to use next Christmas, when I saw this butter mold.  It was so charming, and brought back memories of the excitement of making that butter.  Gene Wilson hand-carves each of his beautiful wooden molds, and they are quite simple to use.  I highly recommend them.  Their details are lovely.

You could make butter by simply separating cream in a food processor, or even in a jar shaken vigorously.  But I decided to try cultured butter after seeing it on the Playing With Fire and Water blog.  There are excellent step-by-step photos of the process on Chef Linda’s blog.  Cultured butter is made by introducing a culture, here the live culture in buttermilk, and by ripening the cream.  Culturing creates a subtle flavor profile which intensifies the taste of the butter and creates a lovely, creamy mouthfeel.  As it has a higher percentage of butterfat and no added water, it ideal for pastry such as laminated doughs.  Of course, I think it’s ideal on a piece of toast or a stack of hot pancakes, too.  I think I’ll make some tomorrow!  Mmmm.

Note: These photographs are unaltered.  I used Cedar Summit Farms’ incredible cream, and the resulting butter really is this lovely soft yellow.


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krisannjacobson March 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

I’m lucky. Thank you for sharing this luscious butter with me. I picked it up at your house and immediately slathered it on French bread at home. What a treat. I’ve never had homemade butter!!

2 Laura March 2, 2011 at 8:04 am


3 Sasa March 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

What a lovely story. My Kiwi grandfather loved butter too, and so do I. I see you’ve travelled a lot, including to Japan and I’m all curious, was it for work?

4 Laura March 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

Yes, for work and study. Study in England, then teaching English in Japan, then a law degree in England for my husband, and then working for a Japanese law firm in Tokyo. All great adventures. We are ready for our next adventure now after ten+ years in the U.S.

5 Laura March 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

P.S. Just discovered your blog. Charming. I loved your hangrrr info, especially since I have a husband and a daughter who both suffer from it. Very funny.

6 Trei March 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm

This is the first time I’ve heard of butter molds… so lovely!

7 Laura March 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

You should definitely check out Gene Wilson’s molds. He hand carves each one.

8 Tiana March 4, 2011 at 3:09 am

Wow that’s so beautiful. Very nicely written blog. Really enjoyed it. Your layout is just gorgeous as well! I’m going to try doing butter rounds with my grandmother’s cookie presses- I think it just might turn out quite similarly. Thanks!

9 Laura March 4, 2011 at 6:33 am

Thank you! Good idea. I hope it turns out!

10 which.chick March 4, 2011 at 11:36 am

I did home-made butter once. It came out rather yellow. ( )The cultured butter sounds like fun, though, and my cow (friends of mine keep a single, sort of pet mutt Jersey cow and raise assorted small beef calves off her) is due to calve next month sometime, whereupon I will have lots and lots of cream to experiment with.

11 Laura March 4, 2011 at 11:56 am

Oh my gosh! I’m so jealous of your fresh cream. If you make cultured butter with truly fresh cream, it will be amazing. You should try the homemade clotted cream recipe here, too. One of my favorites.

12 Joseph March 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

This weekend I will be making butter molds and butter and my excitement is palpable. My wide keeps asking me what’s going on and butter is my only answer. O cannot wait to try this recipe with my French bread, thank you for this!!!!

13 Eftychia March 31, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thanks for the recipe and the useful tips!

14 Laura March 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

My pleasure!

15 Tali June 28, 2013 at 3:58 am

I was going to try making my own butter this week-end, I’m quite excited thinking of it…when I make my own butter, I am going to use organic ingredients (Demeter, even!), trying to support the organic producers (of course, I could as well buy Demeter butter right away).
I was wondering whether I can’t cover the bowl with a cheese or bakers linen, or even with a clean linen kitchen towel, securing it with twine, if needed?
Also, I was wondering if chilling or freezing the glass that functions as a butter mould would do the same trick as a cling foil lining? I imagine that the cold glass would prevent the butter from sticking to the glass?
I always cringe when artisanal, organic recipes call for helper accessoires such as tin foil or cling wrap – these are materials that ultimatively add to the gigantic waste pile all over the world, and they are extremely difficult to recycle (also the recycled products are). I imagine that in the past people produced good, clean butter by using clean linen and other “organic” tricks.

16 Laura June 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I think cheese cloth or bakers linen will work. You may have to pull some of the fibers out of the butter, and it might be helpful to have someone hold the linen or cloth as you work the butter into the mold or bowl. I haven’t used anything like this during molding as it seems simple to just use a chilled mold. Chilling does help prevent sticking. I would skip the cling film; I’m not a fan and I think it will shift too much as you work the butter into your mold or bowl and create unattractive creases in your final product. Good luck with it!

17 Sahah January 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

This is a very very long process to make butter
Take 2 cups of whipped cream in a blender and add 1 cup of water at room temp and blend until butter floats on the top
Scoop the butter and the liquid that is serrated from the mixture is whey

18 Laura January 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

Yes, making butter is quick and easy. This recipe is for cultured butter. I think the flavor is worth the extra time sometimes.

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