How to Make Butter – The Victorian Way
Ah, morning Fanny. Good morning, Mrs Crocombe! I think I’d like some butter with herbs. Of course, would you prefer parsley or…thyme? I think thyme.
– Of course. Thank you dear.
– Thank you, Mrs Crocombe. Good day. Oh I do so like it when Mrs Crocombe
comes to visit me here in the dairy and she trusts me, you know, so I was just going to make the normal standard batch of butter today but now she has asked for thyme
butter, which is a speciality of mine And, if you would like, you can help me.
But I will have to check that you have scrubbed your hands and your nails.
Alright? Follow me. There you are.
Have you done your hands? Good. So the first thing we must do is scald all of
our equipment, so all of the utensils we are going to use. You’re lucky because I
have done the churn for you. Alright, so… Don’t worry about your hands because
we will have the buttermilk later on to soothe them. So once you’ve got your
water in there, just cover it so that they are as clean as possible. Ten years ago I used to work on a farm
of five hundred acres, and I used to have to milk the cows myself. But here, at Audley End,
the cowkeeper does that for me. He brings me the milk, which I then leave to
settle in pans overnight. The cream rises to the top and I scrape that off into a
jug and then pour the cream into the churn. Now, I tend to pour it at quite a
height so that it aerates, so that it turns quicker. And now we’re ready to begin churning. So they key to making good butter is to have
a measured and steady pace. We are very lucky here at Audley End House because our cows are Jersey herd,
and they produce the best, the finest milk. So, the butter churning process can
take anything up to 30 minutes to an hour and it is dependent on the weather,
amongst other things. You will feel resistance when stage one happens, which
is the whipped-cream stage and I’m starting to feel that now so let’s have
a little look. And yes, here we have stage one – whipped cream. So I think we have
probably another 30 to 35 minutes to go. The second phase you need to look out
for when you are making butter is when it begins to turn. So you will feel a
difference and you will hear a difference. And when you go to look
inside, you will see that the butter is now slightly powdery so it is
beginning to separate. It looks – forgive me – a little bit like baby sick! And it is quite pungent to smell. Now you might be here for up to an hour,
but I’ll be honest with you. There are many things that can affect
the butter – for example, stormy weather or just your own mood, some people say. Sometimes in the winter we have to color the butter. We tend to use marigolds
because quite frankly using carrot juice makes the butter taste, well, like carrots. The third phase you need to look out for is when the butter milk and butter
separate. Now you will hear this inside the churn and you will feel it. And I
think we’re ready – let’s have a look. Yes, we’re ready.
So the next thing to do is to drain the buttermilk. Then, I will remove the paddle and then
scoop out all of the butter. It is then washed in spring water, and then drained. Ah, there you are! Thank you for being so patient.
It’s just it takes about an hour or so to have all of the water drain out of
the butter, and it’s important that we do wash it because we don’t want it to go
rancid. Then, you can add salt or, as Mrs Crocombe asked me earlier, thyme for the herbal butter. So what needs to happen now is for it to be patted and these are the butter pats which we scalded earlier. So, the best thing to do is
divide it into more manageable sized chunks because you don’t want to make a mess. Like so. And then just patting it to get rid of any excess liquid. This is the stage where we add salt
or any other ingredients. So, here is the normal butter that I make
every single day here at Audley End House – just salted butter. And here is the
butter that Mrs Crocombe asked me to make this morning, made with thyme.
And here is the butter that will be going up to the top table for Lord and Lady
Braybrooke. As you can see I have used three separate molds. And there we have it – butter made here at Audley End House,
courtesy of Lord and Lady Braybrooke’s Jersey herd.