Animal, Vegetable, Miracle but even with all the talk about it I still managed to be surprised when Barbara and her family visit Ashfield, MA which is just 15 minutes from my house. If you have read the book you'll remember that they visit a farmer that has a beautiful greenhouse full of early tomatoes and lives in a small round house with a living roof. Well what is not mentioned in the book is that Amy and Paul not only grow tomatoes but have a small herd of jersey cows that is completely pastured and they sell the most amazing raw milk.
I have wanted to make butter for years but finally getting the River Cottage Family Cookbook sent me over the edge and I special ordered 3 gallons of cream. Hello! Only one gallon was for me, and the other two were for my good friends, and fellow crazy-project-planning friends Meg and Victoria. The plan was to make some raw, cultured, pastured butter (which costs the weight of your first born child in gold at the store). I did some math...actually the mathematician I am married to did some math...and it looked like we would get about 4 pounds of butter from each gallon.
I wish I had taken pictures up at the farm - it is a really magical spot in the woods - but it was raining and foggy. Meg and I drove up with our broods, had some yummy breakfast at Elmer's and then picked up our gigantic amount of dairy products. In addition to our cream we each also got some whole milk to drink and yogurt to each and help culture the cream, and I got some half-and-half for some amazing hot cocoa I was seeing in my future.
I used these instructions for the butter making though I only added 2/3 of a cup of yogurt for the whole gallon - it seemed like a lot already. Meg went totally Nourshing Traditions and just left it out on the counter. We need to have a taste test (in the name of science of course) to see how they differed.
so deep yellow because the cows are fed only grass (and hay in the winter) and it is slightly tangy from the culturing and it is so...buttery is the only word I can use to describe it. I learned so much about butter in my researching this project. I had no idea that because 80% fat is the lowest threshold for butter in the U.S., butter-makers actually add water to bring the fat content down to 80% to save money. And that many add food coloring to give it that yellow-look. Not my butter. All there is in there is good cream and good salt.