Homemade Butter

I admit it, some days, trying to make everything homemade that I can, drives me crazy. For example: I was in the shower the other morning, deciding what to make the kids for breakfast. Pancakes was about the only choice, because I was out of oat groats to flake for cereal. And of course by the time I get out of the shower all the kids are awake (7:30 am). I come to the kitchen with all four of them trailing behind me. Realizing on the way there that I don't have butter, syrup or flour ready to go. I sigh, evidently loud enough for Luke to hear and he asks why I did that. I tell him that I need to make butter, syrup and mill the wheat before I can make the pancakes. He sighs loudly. I ask him what's the matter. He shakes his head and tells the rest of the kids that they are going to starve to death because it's going to take Mommy a long time to make breakfast. He's silent for a moment and then looks at me and says he has a good idea. He then asks if they can eat chocolate chips while they wait. That kid tries every chance he gets to eat chocolate. Being the good Mother that I am, I tell him no, he'll have to wait. His response, "if we die it's not my fault, because I had a good idea for food".  So, after making butter, syrup and flour (an hour later) they are eating pancakes and nobody died. One crisis averted for the day.
So, on to the butter. If you have never made butter, you really should try it at least once. Even if it's not something you would do all the time, it would be worth the little bit of effort for a special dinner. And honestly, it'll bring a smile to your face when your looking at your finished product and the thought crosses your mind, "I just made butter".  This is super easy and all you need is cream, a mixer, a strainer, and two bowls.

Homemade Butter
6 cups of heavy cream
a little bit of salt (I don't add any, because I have bought unsalted for a while now)

This will make just a little over a pound of butter.

Pour cream into your mixer with the whip attachment.  Mix for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Your cream will come to the stiff peak stage. Keep whipping.


Then it will break down and become soupy with small lumps. Your almost there at this stage.
The lumps become more defined and you will start to see it separate from the "buttermilk" which will be at the bottom. 

When you can really see the the separation of butter and buttermilk, your finished whipping.

You need to strain the butter from the milk. Save the buttermilk for pancakes, biscuits or whatever you would use buttermilk for. This isn't the cultured buttermilk from the store with lumps. But I haven't had an issue using it in any of my recipes that call for buttermilk. If you rinse it in cold water the butter will last for about two weeks. Honestly, I'm not really sure how to tell if butter is spoiled or not. I go though so much of it that I have never had that happen.
This is the buttermilk.
After rinsing it, knead it a little to make sure all the water has been removed. Then form into whatever shape you want. I usually measure out two cups and wrap that in plastic.

Stand back and smile to yourself, because you just made butter.



Fridays Treat ~ Monster Cookies

Monster cookies were on the menu for today's treat. I know it is Valentine's but my husband didn't want to take anything that was "pretty" because that would be weird for him apparently:) I had to laugh at that. Since it is mostly guys in his office anyways I figured they would appreciate the non-valentine treat as well!

These are seriously delicious cookies. They are soft and chewy {as all cookies should be}. They were very easy to make as well.  Just use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and add about a cup of peanut butter, a cup of oats, mini chocolate chips and then whatever candy you like. I used Reese's Pieces upon request from the husband:)

As you can see it is hard for little fingers to resist these too....

I may have helped a little bit:) but those little fingers enjoyed this cookie!

I have a few house projects going this weekend to hopefully show you next week. Can't wait!!

Have a great weekend!

Mary Elizabeth


Happy Valentine's Day

If your looking for a treat today that isn't chocolate, here's a great idea. Heart shaped rice krispie treats. My kids would love these.


Homemade Condensed Milk

Here's another staple that you can make from scratch. I use quite a bit of condensed milk for our homemade creamer. Needless, to say it's cheap at the store. I started making my own. I always have a jar of it in the fridge ready to go. It does take about a while to cook and it's not quite as thick as store bought. I haven't had any problems using it any recipes that call for it.

Here's my recipe:

1 1/2 cups of milk
2/3 cups of sugar
3 Tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Mix sugar and milk together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stirring often, bring it to a low simmer over medium-low heat. As soon as steam starts lifting off the milk, lower the heat even further, and when the sugar is entirely dissolved, put the heat as low as it can go. A simmer burner is great for this.
The goal is to reduce the quantity in the pot by approximately half. It takes about 2 hours at  very low heat to reduce to one cup of liquid. If your in a hurry you could have the heat a little higher, but you have to watch it and stir constantly to keep it from burning.
Once reduced, whisk in the butter and vanilla.
There you have, homemade condensed milk. After tasting it you'll find new ways to use. It's really good.


Homemade Bread

I should start this post about my newest kitchen machine, but I couldn't wait to get pictures of it and the whole process. I finally have my grain mill up and running. And I am SO EXCITED about it. I now mill grain for flour. It's pretty easy and so much better for you. Did you know that flour loses all of it's nutrients within 72 hours of being milled? There is nothing good for you in store bought flour. I realize that not everyone wants to mill their own flour. It is definitely worth the little extra expense to get started. I'll take pictures of the process this afternoon and show you.

So, on to the homemade bread. This is one of the best and easiest recipes for homemade bread. The kids love it and eat it more than bread I made before. They also love being involved in the process of milling the wheat.
 Here's the recipe from Uncle John's Original Bread Book:

Braue's Home-Baked Whole-Wheat Bread
2 packages active dry yeast (2 Tablespoons if you use bulk yeast)
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup brown sugar (homemade)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups scalded milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (I need to do a post for homemade butter)
7 cups of flour 

Dissolve yeast in water for about 10 minutes. While the yeast is dissolving, scald milk, then add brown sugar, salt and butter. Combine yeast mixture and milk mixture. Slowly add dough 1 cup at a time until the down doesn't stick to the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until springy and smooth. Shape into a bowl and place into a lightly floured bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until double in size.
Then divide dough into two balls. Shape each into loaves and place in greased bread pans. Cover with clean towel and let rise again until double in size.
Bake at 350 for about 30 - 45 minutes. The time depends on the size of the loaves and if using fresh flour. I have noticed that things bake a lot faster with the fresh flour. I'm not sure why. When I find out I'll let you know. Bake until the tops are golden brown. If using fresh flour until the temperature reaches 120-125 degrees.
Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then remove from pans and let them finish cooling.

The result is a loaf of the best bread you will ever eat.



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