Real Food, Real Life: City Girl Churns Butter

This might be the coolest blog post I’ve written in a long time, if not ever. It’s all about the magical, real essence of butter.

What led me to write about butter? Well, it’s been a journey to say the least.

Like many others, for the longest time I thought buying items at the grocery store labeled ‘fat-free’ was actually benefiting my body. Turns out, that’s not so much the case.

It wasn’t until I was assigned a project to work with a local gardener in the area where I learned differently. She feeds her family with vegetables grown from the garden in the backyard and foods from her cows from the field. She told me that if I’m eating butter from a plastic container, I might as well be eating the container itself. That’s how close the ingredients in each are. It resonated with me, so I started to use only buy real butter–wrapped in paper!

It’s been about a year since that revelation, and I’ve now dug deeper into what I eat and it’s even more real than the packaged real butter you buy from the store.

Lehman's Dazey Butter Churn
Based on the classic Dazey churn, Lehman’s updated churn design makes butter quickly! At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at

I’ve been eating butter that I make myself, in my own kitchen, using only one ingredient: whipping cream. I use this butter churn and it makes the process so much easier.

Sure, you can also make butter with your blender, food processor, or with something as simple as a mason jar. However, the butter churn is the most amazing method. I never would have thought this city girl would have been writing, ‘this butter churn is amazing’ but that’s totally what I think!

I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t mention the part where I used the wrong kind of ingredient. Yes, there’s one ingredient involved in the process and I picked the wrong one. Make sure you get heavy whipping cream for best results!

The temperature of the cream is important too. It shouldn’t be cold and leaving it out on the counter for a few hours so the cream can be at room temperature before you use it, is actually best. (This is called ‘ripening the cream.’)

The process takes about a half hour or so and produces a hefty amount of butter, especially for just my husband and I.

What You’ll Need
2 or 2 1/2 48 oz. containers heavy whipping cream
Salt (optional)

butter churn
cold water

  1. Allow the cream to reach room temperature (about 72°F) and let sit for a few hours to ripen slightly.
  2. Pour cream into Lehman’s Butter Churn and screw the lid on tightly.
  3. Just turn the handle! With fast, vigorous turning, you’ll have butter in as little as 30 minutes.
  4. You’ll see the cream go through several stages, from frothy to firm to coarse. Then, rather suddenly, the cream will “seize” and turn to fine grains of butter in buttermilk.
  5. Keep turning, and soon a ball of butter will separate from the buttermilk.
  6. Drain the buttermilk and save in refrigerator for baking.

  1. Rinse the butter well with cold water until the water runs clear. Note: Rinse well! If you don’t do this, your butter will sour and be inedible. Press the butter as you rinse to make sure you get all the buttermilk out.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and remove as much water as possible (this is where the spatula comes in handy). Pour out the water. Store your butter in a covered crock or air-tight container, or roll it in waxed paper.

I’ve even felt a little creative and mixed in some herbs and garlic into the butter after the process was completed. It’s been a perfect addition to steaks on the grill and baked potatoes.

Porcelain Butter Boat from
Lehman’s Porcelain Butter Boat is just simply pretty–and practical for storage too. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or

Overall, my husband and I feel great knowing we’re not incorporating all those extra chemicals in our bodies. It can be a challenge to eat REAL food these days and we’re happy with the results. I should also note that I feel healthier and so does my husband.

Side note: we have a saying now around the Lehman’s office (and we’re aware that we didn’t come up with it) where we say, ‘Like Buttah’ when something is easy and smooth and just works out perfectly. It always makes us laugh for some reason.

See how easy it is to churn butter: click here!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014.

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