Here’s the butter-making process churned down to 10 simple steps.
1. Milk the cow. At Howell Farm, this means Daisy, a Jersey, a breed known for the high butterfat content of its milk.
2. Put the milk in a large milk jug, where the cream will begin to rise to the top. (The milk must be raw milk. This process doesn’t work with homogenized milk.) The milk jug at Howell Farm has special tubing attached, which helps once it’s time to drain off the skim milk.
3. Refrigerate the milk jug and wait 2 to 3 days for all the cream to rise to the top.
4. Drain all skim milk out of the milk jug and feed it to the pigs. (At least, that’s what we do with it at Howell Farm.)
5. Pour the cream into large, clean jars. (We use half-gallon mason jars.) Leave some room for the cream to slosh around.
6. Slosh the cream until it takes on the consistency of butter. At Howell Farm, Farmer Rob has designed a motorized milk sloshing machine. But you can also slosh the jars by hand, or put the jars in your backpack (or saddle bags) and walk or ride around with them for a while.
7. Once a butterball begins to form, pour excess buttermilk out of jar. Wash the butterball off with cold water. Feed buttermilk to the pigs.
8. Put the butterball into a clean bowl and use some sort of tool (we use wooden paddles) to squeeze all the excess buttermilk out of the butterball. Feed the buttermilk to the pigs.
9. Add salt, to taste. Mix it in well.