Butter fail

April 17, 2011

Cheap, Cooking

Well, not the making of the butter, but the pricing of the butter.

Over on another site I was reading about how making your own butter is cheaper than buying butter. That might be the case, if you are buying fancy-schmancy butter that is made from golden milk, as I discovered.

I was excited at the initial proposal, though: A pound of butter (1 pound 3/4 ounces by weight) costs roughly $3, and a pint of cream (1 pound 1 3/4 ounces by weight) is $2. You can see how I was coming dangerously close to having to do math, but by my own estimations, if two-thirds of that cream weight was fat, it was an even draw.

That's be some full-fat milk.

I buy the WalMart brand. I'm not proud.

Well, as it turns out – it wasn’t. When I was finished, only 7 1/2 ounces of that cream became butter. Somebody check my math:
8-ish ounces of homemade butter = $2
8 ounces of store butter = $1.50.

But at least I have some pictures to show for it. And some toned arms, since I churned it by hand. You can do it with a food processor or a blender, but I figured the small trade-off in exercise would slightly offset the calorie intake.

Ha! I almost typed that with a straight face.

See, I actually like making butter. I’ve made butter with preschoolers several times before, and the rule is: It will always take you twice as long as you think it will.

So, pour your cream into a jar that is big enough and put on a tight-sealing lid.

You shake /roll it until you can’t hear it slosh anymore. I guess at this point it’s whipped cream.

All that air.

Then shake it (twice as long as you think you need to) until it starts sloshing again.

A few more shakes will clump it together.

I couldn’t take any pictures after this one because my arms were so dead toned. Trust me, it is some delicious butter – you can eat it straight out of the jar.

Go ahead – it’s homemade. That means healthy.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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17 Responses to “Butter fail”

  1. Deanne Said on:

    Homemade = good for you. I LOVE your logic!!


  2. Amy Said on:

    I love homemade butter!!! You can make it in a blender :3


  3. Brad Said on:

    The cream would have some water weight in it, right? Is that what’s left after all the shaking? Is that water good for anything? Maybe an icy-cold glass of butter water on a hot day?


  4. Gretchen Said on:

    Ooh, I do love butter. I’ll have to try the super healthy homemade variety. I guess I have to add my own artificial yellow coloring?


    • Lauren Said on:

      When it’s all drained and done, it’s about as yellow as regular butter. (I remember reading in the Little House books how Ma Ingalls would cook carrot shreds and drain the juice into the winter cream so the butter would be yellow.) Whoop! Whoop! Dang, just set off the Pioneer Dork Alert. Sorry, everyone.

      Also, mine has 98% less fat than store butter. Don’t bother fact-checking that. 😉


  5. Lauren's dad Said on:

    Why not mix the buttermilk into some pancake mix and economize?


  6. Curt Said on:

    I accidentally made butter when I tried to make ice cream with cream that had been frozen. It turned out alright. With a little extra work, got sweet butter and still got ice cream out of it.


  7. Curt Said on:

    Yeah, making homemade butter usually isn’t as economical as buying from the store. If you have access to milk straight from the cow it then can become economical. But then it takes time and equipment to separate the cream, etc. I don’t recall my parents or even my grandparents ever making homemade butter in my lifetime, even though they were dairy farmers. They did though back in the olden days.


    • Christina Said on:

      Our grandma had a cow when we were little, but I don’t remember getting anything but milk from her…..maybe some cream once in a while….I guess they stopped making butter before I was born.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      Last time I looked, there was a butter churn in the shed behind grandma’s house. I sort-of kind-of recall seeing it used once.


  8. Mark Said on:

    I wonder if you could find -- for cheap or free -- an old paint mixing machine into which a jar like that could fit. Flip it on, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz for an hour or two and *zap* -- muscle friendly butter! You might even be able to use a container large enough so that homemade butter making is economical, or at least break-even with store bought prices. You could even produce enough to sell it, recovering your costs and making a small profit.

    Let’s see, the formula for break-even is:

    Sales = Variable expenses + Fixed expenses + Profit

    My variable expenses would be the milk or cream, the final product containers, and my cleaning supplies. My fixed expenses would be the machine, the manufacturing container, and my …..

    Wait!!!! I graduated! I don’t have to do that kind of stuff anymore!!!!

    Please go back to your regularly scheduled comments on homemade butter.


  9. Jane Sommerer Said on:

    I don’t remember Grandma ever using anything but homemade butter until after she sold her cow. You probably didn’t realize you were eating it. I agree with Lauren, it is scrumptious.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      I remember going out to help her milk the cow. I must have been 5-7 years old. She would have been, what?, 77 years old at the time? Come to think of it, that might be too old for milking cows.


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