The Kilner Butter Churner (£21.99, silvermushroom.com), comprises hand-cranked paddles within a glass flask. When turned through cream, the operative turbulence inverts its emulsion.
Lets you make gold, by your own hand. This be alchemy, sir!
I’m a butter fanatic. I can enumerate my butters the way others list herbal teas: unsalted, salted, lightly salted, full of sea salt, goat. I have butters from Brittany, Piedmont, made-up Jersey farmhouses, the hairy udders of a she-goat. I eat so much, my fridge carries a government health warning spelled out in magnets. When I take tea with pals, they make these little jokes, such as: “Do you want some muffin with your butter?” and: “You owe me money.”
Cholester-lols aside, I’m interested in making my own. This hand-operated paddle churn by Kilner, the supreme tsars of jars, is easy to use: simply pour in double cream and get the revolutions started. How does it work? Butter is just a collected clump of milk fats, like me. Churning physically breaks the lipoprotein membranes that keep the globules separate (as the actress said to the bishop).
I find the process fascinating. Five minutes of cranking, and the cream grows foamy, then thick, then whoomph – the pressure releases, leaving separated buttermilk and yellow butterfat. Can you imagine a lovelier byproduct than buttermilk? (Make pancakes with it, or pour it on cereal later. Like Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris, we’re only here for the hard stuff.)
Rinse your fatball free of buttermilk, or it will grow rancid – while I love a lot of butter, no one likes a bitter butter. Add salt, or chuck the store cupboard at it. Parmesan, basil and sundried tomato is amazing; flavoured butter is human joy.
Now, arguably the whole gadget is redundant – shaking up cream in any container works as well. You could also wash your feet in the sink; but sometimes we strive for a little style. This rustic Kilner is lo-fi but highly satisfying. It makes me want to wear gingham and cull a consumptive badger. A big pat on the back. Now, I wonder if they sell cows?
A small bolt on the handle tends to unscrew itself during use. I know nut butters are in vogue, but a loose rivet in the mix is ridiculous. Engineering-wise, I can’t believe it’s not better.