High Blean B&B, Bainbridge: Home Made Butter.

Having attended a demonstration by Rev Ann Chapman at the Stalling Busk School Room on how to make butter, we were keen to give this a go.

First stop was eBay to purchase a set of butter paddles. There were a surprising number for sale, some at silly prices, but I suspect these were meant to be used as window dressing props, in a designer kitchen, rather than to be used to form butter again. I managed to purchase a set for £4.99 and they arrived in a couple of days.

Photo of a litre of cream from Town Head Farm Askrigg

Free Range Cream

Armed with the butter paddles we were all set, so it was off to Town Head Farm in Askrigg, to procure a litre of cream. Alan Kirkbride, who farms Town Head Farm, has a free range dairy herd that munch on some of the finest grass in Wensleydale which is found around Askrigg.

The process is really quite simple: pour the litre of cream into a food mixer, in our case a Magimix with the metal blade fitted, put on the top and start. Next time, I plan to use a food mixer with balloon whisk attachment to see how this works, though I suspect it will not be as quick as the Magimix.

After a minute or two the noise from the mixer changes as the cream gets thicker and thicker, then all of a sudden the sound of “sloshing” liquid can be heard. This signifies that the butter milk as started to separate and the butter has been formed. I suspect it is now that things can go wrong and it will be experience that determines when to turn off the mixer. I let it run on for a few seconds following the butter milk separating then turned the mixer off.

The butter milk is poured off, but does not go to waste. Some was used in a Yorkshire Pudding in place of half the milk in the recipe, our dogs enjoyed a bowlful and there is some left over to make scones with. It also makes excellent soda bread.

Butter being made at High Blean B&B Askrigg

The fun is about to begin.

The solid, which is the butter and weighed 570g  is then taken out of the mixer and placed in a bowl of cold water, before being wrapped in muslin, given a good squeeze and hung over a bowl to drip for a while. The idea being to get as much of the butter milk out of the butter as possible. Then out of the muslin and back into the water, ready for the “paddling” or is it “patting”?

Now for the really fun part, take half the butter and place it on a clean surface and then start to bat it into shape [the shape is up to you] which is surprisingly enjoyable. I firstly flattened the butter out to a thin layer and salted the whole surface, before folding the ends in on each other to ensure an even distribution of the salt. You can leave the salt out but it will not keep as long, and, for me, the salt gives the butter taste.

All that is needed then is to get the shape required, which was easier than I expected and to wrap it in foil backed  parchment paper.

There you have half a pound of the finest butter, made from cream produced by free range cows in Wensleydale, and for much less than the cost of a pack of Lurpack.

1/2 lb Butter made at High Blean B&B Askrigg

Traditional Butter


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