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…

How to Make Butter

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. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

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