"Mrs. Weasley took a piece of buttered toast from a stack on the kitchen table, put it into the fire tongs, and transferred it into Mr. Diggory's mouth" (Goblet of Fire 160).
I still remember shaking a jar of cream as a kid (in Brownies, in fact) and waiting for it to magically transform into butter. The process is even faster when you're a grown up with access to an electric mixer! I got this recipe at organicgardening.com, and it's SO simple!
You Will Need:
Heavy whipping cream (preferably with 35% fat content, but the highest I could find was 17%, and it worked fine)
An air-tight jar or container to store the butter in
1. Pour your cream into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium for about 10 minutes. It really does take ten minutes: the cream will turn to fluffy whipped cream, then stiff peaks, then curdle. And then (literally at 9 minutes 30 seconds for me!), the curds will begin to clump together and watery milk will pool in the bottom of the bowl. At this point, stop the mixer.
2. Carefully pour off as much milk as possible. You can save the "buttermilk" in the fridge if you plan to use it later.
3. Use a stiff spatula to press the butter into the sides of the bowl to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
4. Add about 1/2 cup ice water to the butter and use the spatula to press the water and butter against the side of the bowl. Pour out the cloudy water. This is called "washing" the butter, and it prevents it from spoiling. Repeat the process 2-3 times, until the water is less cloudy when poured off.
5. Transfer the butter into packages (Organic Gardening recommends wrapping it in plastic wrap or parchment first). It can be stored up to a week in the fridge, or 6 months in the freezer.
6. If you like, you can sprinkle some salt on top before using the butter. Or you can check out Organic Gardening's ideas for making compound butters of different flavors.
I definitely recommend trying the compound butter ideas (I may try them myself soon!), as this butter is a little tasteless as a spread, despite its lovely fresh buttery smell. I'm not normally a fan of plain butter as a condiment, so perhaps those of you who like buttered bread will enjoy this more than I did. Regardless, it was fun to make, and really interesting to watch the chemistry unfold... like magic!