DSC07736-004Dairy butter is an emulsion that consists of butterfat, milk protein and water. It is made by churning fresh or fermented cream. Lightly fermented cream, along with salt, adds flavor to the butter.

Non-dairy churned butter is an emulsion consisting of plant fat, pure soymilk protein and water. Lactic acid is added to produce the lightly fermented quality and add flavor, along with salt. No additional emulsifiers (such as lecithin) or stabilizers (such as guar gum) are required. It looks like dairy butter; it tastes like dairy butter; it behaves in cooking just like dairy butter; and it can be used in any recipe just as you would use dairy butter.

Churned butter is prepared with soy-based extra-heavy whipping cream. The composition of this cream is remarkably similar to dairy cream, which makes it ideal for home-churning butter. Do not use any other form of non-dairy cream; it will not produce the same results and most likely will not work at all.

You will also need a stand mixer with a balloon whip (wire whisk) attachment or an electric rotary mixer (the rotary mixer is not as efficient as a stand mixer and will take longer to produce butter). Do not attempt with a food processor or blender; they won’t work properly.

• 1 cup pure soymilk (no additives), room temperature (sorry, no substitutions)
• 1 tsp fine salt or kosher salt (reduce or omit as desired)
• 1 cup organic refined coconut oil*
• ½ tsp lactic acid powder (available from ModernistPantry.com)

The soymilk must be at room temperature to emulsify properly with the coconut oil. If necessary, gently warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat or briefly in the microwave. If cold soymilk is used, the coconut oil will congeal when it comes into contact with the cold liquid.

Remove the metal lid from the jar of coconut oil and place the jar in a microwave. Heat just until the solid oil liquefies, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (this will depend upon the solidity of the coconut oil). Alternately, place the jar in about an inch of simmering water and melt the oil in the same manner. Measure the coconut oil and set aside.

Pour the milk into a blender and add the salt. Put the cover in place but remove the center insert. Begin blending on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed (if the milk is splashing too much in the blender jar, reduce the speed slightly). Pour the coconut oil slowly into the milk through the opening in the blender jar’s lid. After the oil has been incorporated, add the lactic acid.

Continue to process for a few seconds until the mixture thickens (this should occur instantaneously). The mixture will resemble crème fraîche. Transfer the thickened cream to a sealable container and refrigerate until very cold (a minimum of 6 hours). Cold cream is essential to the success of churning butter. Also place the metal bowl and balloon whip attachment from a stand mixer or a metal or ceramic mixing bowl and 2 beaters from an electric rotary mixer into the refrigerator. Chill until very cold.

Please note that the thickened cream may taste somewhat salty; don’t worry, as a substantial portion of the salt is carried away with the buttermilk when the liquid separates from the butter. The finished butter should have a well-balanced flavor; however, the salt can always be adjusted to taste. For baking purposes, reducing or omitting the salt is recommended.

Scoop the cold thickened cream into the chilled bowl and begin whipping with the electric mixer or stand mixer on high speed. Using a stand mixer, it will take about 7 minutes for a stiff, grainy-appearing texture to form. From there it will begin to clump as the buttermilk separates from the butter. Total churning time is about 9 to 10 minutes. Using an electric rotary mixer, it will take about 12 to 14 minutes for a stiff, grainy-appearing texture to form. From there it will begin to clump as the buttermilk separates from the butter. Total churning time is about 15 to 17 minutes. This requires patience – but it will turn into butter.

Tip: When using the rotary mixer, occasionally scrape the sides towards the bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula as the mixture is whipped.

DSC07743-002The butter separated to the left side, the buttermilk on the right

Press the butter to one side of the bowl with a spatula or the back of a spoon and then pour off the buttermilk (about ½ cup). The buttermilk can be discarded if you wish, but I enjoy drinking it – it’s rich, tangy, salty and delicious. Transfer and pack the solid butter into a container. As the butter is packed down, a small amount of residual buttermilk will rise to the top of the container; simply pour this off. Store the butter in the refrigerator until ready to use. The butter will stay fresh for several weeks. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Tip: The butter will be quite solid and hard after refrigeration; simply let it sit out at room temperature to soften before using.

Non-Dairy Churned Butter
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