Welcome back to kitchen science! Today, we’re going to make our own homemade butter! Before we get things shaking, how exactly does cream turn into butter?
First, what is cream?
Cream is the layer of fat that rises to the top of milk before it is homogenized. Homogenization allows the fat and liquid (that normally want to separate) to mix together evenly and form a uniform substance.
What nutrients do we get from milk?
- Vitamins and minerals (calcium, vitamin D)
Why does your body need fat?
Fat in moderation is a good thing for your body. In excess, fat can cause heart problems and weight gain. Fat also helps our bodies absorb nutrients. Some nutrients are water soluble, meaning they absorb well with water, but some nutrients are fat soluble, meaning they are absorbed well by fat. If you don’t have adequate fat in your diet, your body could miss out on some key nutrients!
Example: Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Where do we find fats?
Full fat dairy products such as milk and cheese; oils such as olive, coconut, or vegetable oils; nuts and seeds; and avocados. Shoot for natural fats like these rather than processed foods.
What’s the difference between cream, half and half, and milk?
There are so many different dairy products in the dairy aisle. Lots of people buy cream for their coffee, but most people who use “cream” are actually using half and half. Half and Half is just what it sounds like... half cream and half milk. Basically, it has a much lower fat content than Heavy Whipping Cream.
- Whole Milk: About 3% butterfat
- Half and Half: 10-18% butterfat
- Heavy Whipping Cream: 36-40% butterfat
The thing that all these dairy products have in common is that they are mixtures of water, fat and milk proteins. All of the fat, protein, etc. are pretty evenly distributed. Usually, fat and water doesn’t want to mix together. Your job today is to shake the fat globules out of position! When you shake up the mixture, the fat molecules will begin to stick together and separate from the water. The clumps of fat molecules form butter, and the leftover liquid forms buttermilk. Let’s try it out!
You’re going to agitate whole milk, half and half, and heavy whipping cream to see what gives you the quickest and best results.
YOU WILL NEED:
- 1/2 Cup Measuring Cup
- 3 identical clear containers with sealable lids
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Whole Milk
- Half and Half
- Spoon or butter knife
Here’s what to do!
1. Pour 1/2 cup milk into one container (your container should be about 1/2 full. Do not overfill—you need the space for the liquid to be agitated!
2. Pour 1/2 cup half and half into the next container.
3. Pour 1/2 cup heavy Whipping Cream into the third container.
5. Start your timer and start shaking! Begin with the whole milk.
6. Remove the lid and check the milk after 2 minutes. What’s happening? What does the milk look like? Is the texture any different?
8. Repeat steps 5-7 with half and half. Does this yield different results? Pay attention to any changes in texture, appearance, consistency, etc.
10. After the first 2 minutes, you should see a notable difference in consistency.
Extension: Compare cold heavy whipping cream to room temperature heavy whipping cream. Does temperature affect the time it takes to form butter? Why or why not? This butter would go well with banana muffins!
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