Butter Bell, homemade butter
I just made butter for the first time and I'm never buying store bought butter again.
However, I just stored it in a small Tupperware dish and it doesn't look very pretty. I don't normally care about such things, but it's just screaming to be in a jar of some kind.
A friend told me about a butter bell, but looking online it says the point is to keep the butter spreadable. I found that my homemade refrigerated butter has stayed soft and spreadable so I don't think that's an issue.
Should I buy a $20 butter bell or just store it in a simple glass jar?
I am one who loves our butter bell. I do change the water every other day or so to keep it fresh, and have never had a problem with mold, smells or anything. And my children love having spreadable butter at their beck and call.
Some reviews on Amazon noted that the butter kept slipping off into the water. I've not had that problem, but one trick I do when putting the soft butter in the bell is to chill the bell in the refrigerator before putting the softened butter into it. It sticks and we've never had problem even on our very hot summer days.
My mother bought these little round covered butter dishes (from a different source), and puts the soffened butter into them. They are simple, but pretty. I think each one holds about a half of stick of butter.
If you're going to all the work of churning your own butter, molding it in a beautiful mold isn't much more work. If you search "butter mold" on eBay, you will see that there are many beautiful shapes and designs available. Visualize serving your butter in this: http://www.mauvielusa.com/Copper-Porc...
As to the Butter Bell, count me among those who don't care for them. I never saw any advantage with mine over a normal covered butter dish. And there was something about leaving the butter "under water" that created the most hideous smell when the butter finally started turning old--I think it was some anaerobic bacteria. You don't get that with a simple covered dish.
There are several threads here on butter bells, so you should read them and make up your own mind. As you will read, many people love them.
You don't need a butter bell, but I have one and really enjoy it. It allows you to keep a reasonable amount handy for immediate table and cooking use while letting the remaining amount stay cold. The key is it's enough that you will probably use it long before spoilage becomes a problem.
Soft, spreadable butter has the advantage also of not being overused. It's easy to use less when the butter isn't cold and densely packed.
I've never considered a glass jar because with the bell the point is to have the water constantly at the surface of the butter so oxygen does not get introduced. With a jar, there will be oxygen.
Butter making was one of those "mad scientist" moments I had with niece... maybe 12-13 at the time. I just used KA stand mixer and whisk and told her to WATCH what happens. She watched the cream... can't remember whether I used "whipping" or "heavy" so NO idea if ultra-pasteurized... as it went thru all the stages of whipped cream. Pretty sure she thought something terrible had happened when it made that quick jump from whipped cream to butter. Was a little reluctant when I told her to taste it... had NO clue butter came from cream!?!
I would love to try my hand at making my own homemade butter. But my understanding is that it will not work with ultra-pasteurized heavy cream, which seems to be all that I can find.
I think it would look great in a squat wide mouth canning jar such as these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000V5KVDU
That's exactly the type of jar I was thinking of. Also, from a youtube video I saw, you can make butter with ultra pasteurized, but it might taste cooked. It's not rocket science and I can't imagine that it would be remotely bad.
However, having made it once with non ultra, I'm going to experiment with different brands and amounts of salt.
I'm aiming for the Ultimate Butter.