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devil duck

culinary stuff

Well, I was planning to postpone baking bread until after Passover, but I was running out, and it was Saturday, so what the hell. I made a batch of relatively-high-protein bread (a cup of soy flour, a cup of wheat gluten, several eggs, and some leftover egg whites in addition to the ordinary flour). There was about a cup and a half of spelt flour left in the bag, so I threw that in too. And some wheat germ, and wheat bran, and whole kamut grains (pre-cooked in water in the microwave). Both sourdough starter and commercial yeast, since I wasn't sure how the day's schedule would turn out and wanted to accelerate the process. The bread turned out pretty good. I still haven't figured out how to get the chewy crust that the folks at the farmer's market, or even Panera, have, but otherwise it's tasty.

Meanwhile, I had just read this post about making butter and slathering it on fresh-baked bread, and I thought "why not?" I hadn't made butter in twenty or thirty years, but vaguely remembered that one puts cream in a jar and shakes it for a while. So I did that... and then it became impossible to shake. I looked inside, and found that I had a smooth, homogeneous, not-going-anywhere whipped cream. I concluded that either the temperature was wrong, or you can't do this with homogenized, ultra-pasteurized grocery-store cream, and put the whipped cream in the fridge.

This morning, I RTFM'ed (or Googled or pick your favorite neoverb). Some of the directions specifically said "yes, you can do this with homogenized, ultra-pasteurized grocery-store cream," while others said "when it looks like whipped cream, you're almost done." So, on a tip from yet another on-line source, I whacked the jar against various unyielding objects for a few minutes... and suddenly it was shakeable again. And it made sloshing noises. And inside was a thin white liquid and something vaguely resembling butter. Magic! I rinsed it in cold water, worked out some more of the buttermilk, mixed in some freshly-ground sea salt, and spread it on a slice of yesterday's bread. Yep, it's tasty. Now that shalmestere is up, maybe we'll have some on pancakes for breakfast.
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They say steam in the oven makes a crunchy crust. But if you wrap the bread in foil or plastic before it is cool, the crust will absorb the steam still coming out of the bread and will become soft.
PS.. personally, I don't mind a bit of crunch, but FLAVOR is where it's at for me!
Oh, yummy!
I've accidentally made butter while trying to make whipped cream. Unfortunately on that occasion the cream already had sugar (Splenda?) and vanilla in it, so I couldn't recover the butter for use. It tasted too odd.
Use it for baking?
Yes - crunchy crust is all about steam. I haven't mastered it yet - going to try the casserole method, next... (I don't think my oven holds the steam.) Long discussion of it in Laurel's Bread Book - my favorite baking manual. (All whole grain, all the time.)

And the easier way to make butter is with an egg beater or electric mixer. I prefer the old fashioned egg beater, because it is easier to stop and look and see what it happening. Just make whipped cream and keep going... Mom, who had grown up watching her dairy farming grandmother churn, taught us that. Then press out the buttermilk (that's the thin white liquid) and wash the butter.

When I was teaching, all the info for teachers gave the shake it in a jar thing - so each kid can have her own jar - but it's a pain. I had everyone do 10 turns with the egg beater (Look, Ma - we're counting!) and pass it on, and that worked just fine.

Buttermilk. Yes, what you pour off is real buttermilk. Yes, what we get in stores is cultured. What you have made is fresh butter, not cultured butter. If you culture your cream (or whole unhomogenized, high butterfat milk) and *then* churn it, you get cultured butter, with the side product of cultured buttermilk. This is more common in some European countries, though we generally use fresh butter. I have *no* idea how we got into a pattern of fresh butter and cultured buttermilk... and it took me years to string the disparate pieces of information I had into that fairly rational paragraph!

So, if I have fresh buttermilk, non cultured, will my buttermilk pancakes still work the way I expect them to work? I haven't made enough buttermilk yet to try.

The first time we did the butter, it was a very small amount and my kids wanted to shake it. The next time I used the kitchenaid. But then my husband threw it in a jar, shook it, and poured off the buttermilk a few times before we finally just used it. It worked well. We weren't quite sure what to use to press the buttermilk out.

What does washing the butter do?
I haven't tried buttermilk pancakes with homemade buttermilk. I suspect it'll have sorta the same flavor, but less acidic, so you wouldn't get as much acid/base reaction with baking soda to puff up the pancakes.

I don't know what washing the butter does; the clearest of the directions I found on the Web told me to do so (and also told me to culture the cream before starting, by leaving it out at room temperature for 12 hours or so).
What he said - I think you'll need to add acid. We now often use buttermilk to replace the old (unpasteurized) sour milk. This will have a tangy taste, but I don't think it is sour enough to react to the baking soda alone.

Washing removes all the last traces of buttermilk - which doesn't keep as well - from the butter (which keeps quite well.)

I wouldn't just leave pasteurized milk out - it doesn't sour so much as go bad. I'd add a touch of commercial buttermilk or yogurt first, so the right bacteria (which have been removed) are present. Pasteurizing kills the good as well as the dangerous bacteria, so it's then anyone's guess what you'll get - and it's usually not pretty.

They used to just leave it out - but in a dairy, where they'd been making cultured products, and the right things were in the air. It's like making sourdough. It's easier to make a good reliable new sourdough if you've been using sourdough...