Monday, April 28, 2014

Dorot Basil & Garlic Cultured Compound Butter

I was reading the March issue of Food & Wine magazine a week or so ago and I saw an article on cultured butter. I was so intrigued. I've been making compound butters for years - sweet, buttery spreads and savory ones as well. But I’ve never tried to “culture” butter before. My first attempt at cultured butter yielded a log of creamy and tangy deliciousness that was perfect for anything calling for butter. When the Dorot Challenge came-a-knockin’ I thought I’d make a “cultured” compound butter using their product. The Dorot garlic and basil was so easy to use and is so fresh tasting it’s like I picked it from my own garden. The bright and sweet basil, mild but spicy garlic, and the tangy cultured butter produced a concoction that is absolutely mouthwatering.

This Dorot Basil & Garlic Cultured Compound Butter is perfect sliced and placed on top of a steak or a chicken breast hot off the grill. Or even a filet of fish just as is comes out of the oven. You could even toss a slice of this cultured compound butter into a bowl of hot pasta as a side dish. Give it a try! You’re gonna want to keep some of this stuff in your freezer at all times. I know I do.

Dorot Basil & Garlic Cultured Compound Butter
by Maryjo
adapted from "Cultured Butter", Food & Wine Magazine, March 2014

1 quart heavy cream
1/3 cup cultured buttermilk
ice water
5 cubes Dorot Chopped Basil
5 cubes Dorot Crushed Garlic
1 teaspoon table salt

In a large bowl, mix the heavy cream and the buttermilk together, cover and let it sit out on the counter at room temperature for at least 12 hours…the longer you wait, the tangier and more cheese-like the butter will taste. But don’t go more than 48 hours. And if you live in a warmer climate like I do? Well, I played it safe and didn’t let mine go for longer than 24 hours out of fear that it would turn into something even my dogs wouldn’t gobble up. Once the mixture gets thick, put it in the refrigerator to cool for a while. I learned the hard way that if the cultured cream is not cold, it has a hard time separating into butter and buttermilk.

After the cultured cream has cooled down (give it about 2 hours in the refrigerator), pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (you can use a hand mixer or even a whisk…but be prepared to work hard for your butter!) Start slowly and turn the speed up as your cream gets thicker. This can be a messy job so have a kitchen towel handy. When the butter fat and buttermilk start to separate you’re getting close. You’ll know you’re done whisking when the butter begins to collect in the middle of the whisk.

Now it’s time to make sure you’ve gotten all of the buttermilk
out of your golden, beautiful ball of cultured butter. I lined a sieve with a large piece of cheesecloth and strained the
buttermilk off into a large bowl (you can save the buttermilk in a jar in the fridge for those pancakes you’re planning on making for your main squeeze on Sunday morning.) In a large bowl, wash off the ball of butter with a little ice water (this will firm it up a little too.) Gently knead the ball of butter to squeeze out any buttermilk that might still be hiding in there. Note that the butter will get softer when you knead it because of the warmth of your hands. Just pour a little ice water over the butter to firm it up, then drain and throw away the excess liquid. Repeat the kneading process three or four times. Now your cultured butter is ready to season.

Place it in a food processor, drop in the Dorot Chopped Basil and the Dorot Crushed Garlic and the salt. Pulse it all together until it’s well combined. You can use it right away or do what I did and make a cultured butter log by placing the butter on a large piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over the butter and, using a ruler or other long, straight (non-sharp) object, squeeze the butter into a log by pressing back on the butter with the straight edge. Just twist the ends really well and refrigerate for at least one hour. It should keep for about a week in the refrigerator. If you want to freeze it, either put the chilled log into the freezer as is, or slice it into 1/2-inch disks and store the pre-sliced butter in a zip top bag in the freezer for far longer.

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