Homemade Raw Butter

We love butter, and cook with it often. Bill and I both tolerate grass fed butter just fine, and really enjoy incorporating it into our diets. Up until now, we have always purchased Kerrygold or Smjor butter from Whole Foods. Living in Pennsylvania, we can legally buy raw milk at our local food coop, or straight from a farmer. Unfortunately our coop does not carry raw cream, or butter, just milk, so grass fed butter was as close to the “really good stuff” that we could get. For those of frightened of raw milk, fret not. This food is a good one. The milk we find today in our grocery stores is heavily processed for good reason. It comes from factory farmed cows, who are fat and sick from being fed an improper diet. Sick cows means sick milk, in which case the milk from unhealthy cows needs to be heated or “pasteurized” to kill all of the bacteria growing in the milk of those poor, unhealthy cows. The common milk we find in most grocery stores today is a dead food, that causes all of the intestinal upset that we know it to cause.

Raw milk on the other hand is full of live, beneficial bacteria. Milk is a live food, and can be safely incorporated into a Paleo/Primal/and especially Weston A. Price diet when sourced from a good farmer who grass feeds and grass finishes his cows. These cows are healthy and happy, and their milk will be healthy and happy too! For more information on the benefits of raw milk, click here, here, and  here. All of that in mind, personally I (Hayley) HATE milk. I don’t have any intentions of feeding our children cows milk, and I never drank the stuff growing up. Watching someone else drink milk makes me feel like I’m going to gag (which you can imagine was fun at the Weston A. Price conference when everyone was drinking that stuff like water). So, milk I hate, but cream, butter, cheese, and ice cream I LOVE. Just give me the fat I guess!

Bill does really like milk, but doesn’t crave it. He really loved the raw milk he tasted at WAP, but hasn’t asked for it since. He does seem to tolerate it okay (no gas, bloating, breakouts, emotional responses, etc) so my desire to get my hands on some raw butter was finally awarded by Bill being willing to drink the milk we had to buy to get some raw cream. We headed to our food coop to grab a few groceries, and while we were there we got a gallon of raw milk. Looking back on it, we probably could have settled for a half gallon, just because Bill doesn’t drink the stuff much, and based on how much cream I was able to skim off the top, we didn’t need to buy that much milk.

After we got the milk, we came home and both starred blankly at the gallon, wondering how we were going to get the cream out. First we thought maybe we could pour it out, and after starting to pour we realized that wasn’t going to work, so we poured a good bit into a glass container, and put that in the fridge to separate over night. The next morning we had what looked to be a good layer of cream in the glass container, as well as in the gallon jug again. I watched a few videos on how to skim the raw cream, and one that looked easy enough used a turkey baster. Off we went to buy a turkey baster (nope, we didn’t have one–we are still a young couple folks and despite having some pretty cool kitchen gadgets, there are some things we just don’t have yet–like turkey basters.) Anyway, we got what we needed, and headed back home to make some butter.

First thing we did was get all of our ingredients: food processor, a few glass bowls, the milk of course, some cheese cloth, and the turkey baster. Then we skimmed as much of the cream off of the milk as we could. This was slightly stressful for me, because I felt like I kept getting milk in the bowl, and the line of cream seemed to never go down.

milk jug and cream


(can you see the faint line of separation between cream and milk? it was even harder to see in real life!)


After we skimmed what we thought was a good amount of cream off of the milk (enough to cover the blades of the food processor), we poured the cream into the food processor and started to blend. We blended for several minutes, and thought nothing was going to happen except milk bubbles. At that point I got on Facebook chat with one of our favorite farmers and she gave me some tips.

1. The cream takes a really long time to whip.

2. It whips faster at room temperature.

Since I’m impatient and we had cold milk, you can see where the worry came from. After a few more minutes the cream started to thicken and I got really, really excited!



After a few MORE minutes the cream started to really thicken, turn yellow, and separate from the buttermilk. Once it did this, we poured the butter milk into the sink, scraped the butter back down onto the blades, and kept blending.


Finally we had a cute little ball of butter that we could strain into a bowl.

butter ball


We strained the remaining buttermilk from the butter through our cheese cloth.



After that we had butter!! Woot!!



Lessons learned from raw butter making:

1. Skimming cream from milk is a pain, and results in more buttermilk and less butter (or I just suck at it, which is a huge possibility).

2. Use room temperature cream for faster whipping.

3. Making butter is really fun, even though it’s a lot of work.

I really enjoyed making this butter. Before making butter from raw cream yourself, I would definitely recommend watching The Healthy Home Economist’s video tutorial on how to make raw butter. She does a fantastic job with this video!


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    1. KansasTrio
      February 9, 2013

      We get 2Gal of raw milk every week and end up with 2 cups of butter. (ya gotta leave some in!) Our milk comes in 1/2gal wide-mouth mason jars, so it is trivial to ladle out the creme. I showed my boys the difference in the butter’s color. our butter was bright yellow, because of all the vitamins being oxidized, and the store-bought was white, because it was vitamin deficient. that really drove home the quality difference. they are both white and taste similar, but it’s not close. next: Culture your butter.

    2. jamiefender
      February 13, 2013

      Just a thought/tip; have you tried pouring the milk into a container with a spout at the bottom? Something like this
      The milk would come out of the bottom, leaving the cream in the jar, making the skimming process a lot easier. I have not done this myself but know someone who has and said it works well. But they drink the milk (this is also an easy way to make fat free/skim milk) and make the butter when the milk is all gone.

    3. deanriley
      February 15, 2013

      I grew up on a farm, and making butter was one of the kids’ jobs. The cream was always left in a jar for 1-2 days, which improves both taste and makes for cultured butter; then the cream was put into the churn (gallon glass jar with paddles turned by a crank), or into a quart jar for the kids to shake until the butter formed. My kids and grandkids enjoyed learning how to make butter, cheese, ice cream.  Butter improves with aging, and adequate salt.

    4. cantoann
      July 30, 2014

      Wow I have to try this method of gettig cream off milk. Ive made fresh butter, but I get fresh raw milk from the farm, they too only sell milk. Ive been buying the fresh local pastarized cream from a local store. I have used small amounts of cream spooning it into soup but basting seems good for getting lots of milk. By the way if you dont like milk but like cheese you can make riccota or icecream. If you dont have an icecream make just freeze the mixtute and blend it. It takes a bit longer.

    5. cantoann
      July 30, 2014

      Also raw milk tastes much better if you add it to blended fresh fruit.

    6. cantoann
      July 30, 2014

      Itsfunny you mentioned whole foods because the local fresh ceam I buy is from pensylvania, just a few hours away, it comes in a glass bottleand is grass fed. I think in pensyvania you can actually get it delivered strsight from the farm.

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