There are very few things that can’t be improved with butter — but how do you make butter better? The answer is in cultured butter; imagine all the fatty, creamy goodness of butter with the added bonus of an almost cheese-like tang that lifts everything from bread to steak. We got chef Florian Ridder of The Summerhouse restaurant to show us the ropes in their beautiful garden, where he prepares the cultured butter that they use in the restaurant.
Recipe: Cultured Butter
- 1 litre heavy cream
- 100g yoghurt with active culture
- iced water
- salt (optional)
- cheesecloth or muslin
- stand mixer, or a whisk if you’re prepared to work hard
- large mixing bowl
- Mix the yoghurt with heavy cream and leave the mixture out for about 12 hours in a cool, dry place, covered with a piece of cheesecloth so that it can breathe. If you have a temperature-controlled environment, then it’s possible to let the mixture sit for up to 24 hours at between 19-25°C.
- The good bacteria from the yoghurt will multiply and feed on the cream, which will set into what is basically creme fraiche, and should smell faintly grassy and tangy.
- Beat the mixture with the whisk attachment on your mixer, starting on high, and then lowering the speed as soon as the cream starts to break, and the yellow bits of butter start to clump together.
- Continue beating until the cream has fully broken, and the butter has separated from the buttermilk. Don’t throw out the buttermilk! It’s liquid gold that you can use to make everything from pancakes to fried chicken. Chef Ridder recommends blending it up with some fruits for a delicious smoothie.
- Once you have gathered the butter, place it in a large mixing bowl with iced water, and knead the butter to squeeze out more of the buttermilk. Continue kneading and replacing the ice water until it no longer turns cloudy when you knead the butter. The less buttermilk you have in your butter, the creamier it’ll be, and it will also keep for longer.
- Once you’re done, you can salt the butter to taste. Salting will also draw out more moisture and make the butter keep longer.
- Put the butter in everything and forget about your diet.