I take a special delight in figuring out ways to use tools and technologies that their creators probably didn’t intend. A few weeks ago, I was visiting a local restaurant that touted its homemade butter and remembered that butter, fundamentally, is a pretty simple thing to make. It’s essentially a precipitate; you agitate heavy cream until the fat globules adhere to each other and fall out of solution.
Normally, you’d do such churning in a butter churn or a mixer, but I decided to see whether I could do the same with a power drill. Why? Because I can. So I ordered these mixer heads off Amazon for $6, stuck one in my Ryobi power drill, and tried making butter.
The cordless power drill doesn’t have the RPMs to churn butter quickly. It works, but all in all it took close to 45 minutes – which came perilously close to depleting the battery.
In contrast, it takes a high-speed blender about 3 minutes to do the same thing.
Now, if all you have is a power drill, then you make butter with a power drill. It’s one of those “necessity is the mother of invention” techniques that you put in the back of your cookbook.
For reference, this technique goes through three stages. First, the heavy cream becomes whipped cream. Then the whipped cream begins to solidify into a very dense mass. Finally, the fat globules fall out of solution and you end up with butter in a watery liquid, buttermilk.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
- Put cream in a tall container.
- Add salt if you want salted butter.
- Beat with power drill for 30-45 minutes or until butter is fully precipitated.
- Lament your situation and buy a proper high-speed blender.
- Remove butter from liquid with a spatula and store in a separate container.
- If you’re making this for resale/commercial use, some folks recommend washing the butter in ice cold water to remove the remaining buttermilk. Supposedly it will cause it to spoil and have much less shelf life. I don’t foresee this butter surviving a week before being used, so I’m not terribly worried about it.
- Reserve buttermilk for something like bread making or pancakes.
Note that this buttermilk, though authentic, tastes nothing like commercial, store-bought buttermilk, which is often infused with lactic acid to give it a sour, tangy taste. This real buttermilk is good for baking.
FTC Disclosure: links in this content are affiliate links to Amazon for my company, Trust Insights. Any purchase you make indirectly benefits me financially.
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