How to Make Butter

I’ve always wished I’d lived in another era. Which is typical, I realize now, and also kind of a cop-out. Like, I would have been so much better at being a pioneer, or a flapper, or a patrician, or a peasant, or a writer correspondent in the Spanish civil war. Instead of just getting a cellphone and dealing with the present. The twentieth century, and now the twenty-first century really wore me out, so I used to think a lot about colonial chores (’cause obviously their life was cake).

I wanted a butter churn. I think it might have been because of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, my favorite novel since the fourth grade. And to be humble and hard-working and God-fearing and good. And to attend a husking bee.

You don’t have to be a Puritan to make this super simple homemade butter. All you need is a stand mixer. I know that you can shake cream in a jar until it transforms into butter, but I wanted to be a bit more practical. I bought good, heavy cream. And started to whip it up like I do whipped cream. And beyond. Until it was…

Super-Simple Homemade Butter
Makes about a half-pound; Adapted from a recipe by Joy the Baker


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Smidge of salt, to taste


How to Make Butter

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place, pour cream into the bowl and set the speed at 2 0r 3.

How to Make Butter

After 10 minutes, you should have too-whipped cream. Turn the mixer to “4.” In another 10 minutes, the mixture will start to look curdled.

How to Make Butter

A little more mixing, and you’ll have buttermilk separated from a solid(ish) mass of butter!

How to Make Butter

Transfer the ball of butter to a sieve sitting over a mixing bowl to drain a bit more, then return it to the mixer and add salt. Mix for another minute or so, then dunk the whole mass in ice-cold water.

How to Make Butter

Wrap it in plastic, shape it into a log, and refrigerate.

It will be good in the fridge for about a week, but I doubt it will last that long. Especially when I bake a loaf of the no-knead bread to go with it. I’m practically a pioneer.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

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