Alright, here's the skinny on the butter-making. The basic instructions? Take your cream and whip (churn) it until you can no longer do so. That's it. ;)
Start with this:
(I had actually whipped this for about a minute before I stopped to take a picture)
You'll get to what they call the soft-peak stage:
Then the stiff-peak stage:
You'll go through those first steps quite quickly. Just keep whipping...
Then the cream will start to turn from white to a pale yellow:
It will start to look like really thick whipped cream and will start to cling thickly to the sides of your bowl:
Keep going. You might want to stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides of your bowl. You'll start to see it turn a little grainy:
...and get grainier:
...and grainier. And you'll start to see a little bit of "shine" on the top - it will begin to look "wet":
(you can sortof see little spots of "shine" in the picture - that is the liquid being squeezed out as the fats and proteins coagulate)
It will start to look almost like bread crumbs or when you cut in butter to a crumb topping:
At this point you'll want to turn your machine down a bit (I turned mine down from 10 to about 7 or 6) because it will start to spit liquid at you. [These last steps happen very quickly, and you'll go from the crumb topping look to a big chunk of butter in a puddle of buttermilk in about 5 seconds, literally. If you're machine is still zipping away at highest speed, you'll slosh buttermilk all over the kitchen before you have time to turn it off.]
You'll start to see more and more liquid accumulate on the top:
Keep going for another minute or two, at a medium speed, and watch carefully because in a matter of about 5 seconds it will go from the picture above, to THIS:
It will clump up all together in your whip attachment and you wont be able to whip it any longer. You're now done (with the churning part, that is)!
You can now either pour off the buttermilk and save it (think cornbread, buttermilk pancakes, etc.) or you can just pour it down the drain.
With clean hands, press all of the butter solids into a ball. Squeeze it a little to get more buttermilk to drain out.
You can put it in a container in the refrigerator at this point, but I've read that it can still have buttermilk in it and that can tend to make it go rancid, so many places suggested to wash it.
I filled my mixed bowl with cold water (if you use warm you'll melt the butter) and then kneaded it a few times under the water. Pour off the water, and repeat one more time, or until you feel like you've gotten most of the buttermilk out.
You'll then end up with this:
I started with 2.5 pints of whipping cream, and ended up with 11.2 ounces of butter and just under 2 cups of buttermilk.
The buttermilk will be used in some cornbread this weekend, and some of the butter was used tonight for this:
(Pizza dough and breadstick recipe HERE)
(Pizza sauce recipe HERE)