As a kid, I would eat butter. Not an entire stick, just an extra pat when I was in the process of buttering toast, pancakes or something else. I had no idea how butter was made until elementary school. My class sat in a circle taking turns shaking a jar filled with heavy cream. After a lot of muscle, pale yellow clumps separated from the liquid. We each sampled fresh butter smeared on a slice of bread.
I made a more sophisticated version of homemade butter by adding crème fraiche to heavy cream and letting it sit at room temperature overnight to allow the live cultures to develop. I splurged on organic heavy cream knowing that the best quality ingredients were a must for a recipe with so few elements. With its nutty and tangy flavor, I spread the cultured butter on a baguette.
Makes about 5 ounces
16 ounces organic heavy cream
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
Pinch of sea salt
Combine the heavy cream and crème fraiche and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours until it has thickened.
Place the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Before mixing, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, about 30-45 minutes.
Return the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Use a shield or cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent splashing. Whisk on medium high speed for 5-7 minutes. The cream will go from soft peaks to whipped cream and then the butter will separate from the buttermilk. Pour over a fine mesh strainer and use a rubber spatula to knead the butter removing as much liquid as possible. (The butter will last longer the more buttermilk is removed).
Transfer the buttermilk to a separate container and reserve for another use.
With the butter in the strainer, rinse in cold water over the sink until the water runs clear. Return the strainer to the bowl, knead out the remaining liquid and incorporate the salt.
Transfer the butter to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. The butter can also be frozen up to 1 month.