Science Behind Butter: How Butter Is Made

Have you ever wondered how butter is made? How the creamy spread is produced from a liquid, i.e., cow's milk? Do you know that you can make butter at home? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and how to make homemade butter yourself!

butter cream

Background on Butter

Let’s face it—everybody loves butter! It’s such a fantastically versatile ingredient for cooking and baking. With just a little amount of butter, you can make an ordinary dish taste amazing.

Butter contains a variety of important nutrients such as vitamins A, E, and B12, alongside other beneficial compounds like butyrate and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). Butter is low in omega-6, although it is high in fat and calories. It is a good addition to a well-rounded, healthy diet if taken in moderation, especially when combined with other heart-healthy fats.

What’s even more fascinating about butter is that there is scientific evidence that dates all the way back to 2000 BC. imagine that, butter has been made by people 4,000 years ago! Ancient methods for making butter involved using a container made entirely from animal skin, sewed tightly together, with a small opening for adding the liquid.

Although its history is captivating, today we will focus on the science behind making butter.

baking butter
Butter Science: Shaking up Butter

The butter-making process begins with cream. The cream is a dairy product made of the higher-fat layer that’s skimmed from milk before homogenization. The fat in un-homogenized milk floats to the top, forming a layer high in fat, that is collected to make the cream. 

So, how is butter made from cream? When shaking the fresh cream, the fat molecules clump together as they get shaken out of position. These clumped fat molecules separate from the liquid and form butter. The liquid left after shaking is buttermilk.

Why does shaking cream make butter?

The cream is a complex mix of lipids, i.e., milk fat. While shaking, these lipids get stabilized by its own fat molecules, and together form a clump, leaving water molecules, i.e., buttermilk.

Can the process be reverted, i.e., can you turn butter into a cream?

The butter can be turned into cream, and it’s a fairly easy process. All you need to do is melt butter and mix it with buttermilk or whole milk.

How much cream is needed to make a pound of butter?

To make a pound of butter, you will need one quart of cream, meaning you will get about half as much butter as the amount of cream, plus about two cups of liquid—buttermilk. 

bread, butter, herbs

Homemade Butter Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • One cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Glass jar with a lid, clean and tight sealed
  • A measuring cup or a glass
  • A strainer
  • Stopwatch or clock

Pour one cup of heavy whipping cream into a measuring cup or glass and let it settle to the room temperature (about five hours is suggested).

Once the fresh cream is settled, pour it to the glass jar and screw the lid tightly. Shake the jar for several minutes, until the sloshing sound stops. Open the lid and use the strainer to take out the liquid. Close the lid and shake again, until the sloshing sound stops again. Repeat until a thick mass forms. 

Use the stopwatch to measure the exact time it takes for it to form, to make it easier the next time you want to make fluffy homemade butter. 

Different size jars can be used if you want to make larger amounts of butter. You can also use a hand or electronic beater and a glass bowl, to speed up the butter-making process.

Enjoy your delicious, homemade butter, and be sure to keep it refrigerated and use it before it goes bad.

Butter Twist: Your Little Kitchen Helper

Making butter is a fun and delicious family activity. However, if all this sounds like too much work for your busy lifestyle, you can always buy butter. And the best part? Simply load the store-bought butter into your Butter Twist and forget about the sticky mess in the kitchen. 

Butter Twist allows you to spread butter directly onto a pan or your food by simply pushing the slider. Get yours today and discover the perks of such a smart little kitchen helper!


get butter twist button

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