I love the line "fresh creamery butter" from Kate & Leopold. It just feels good to say in your mouth. I had one and a half pints of whipping cream in my fridge that had aged past the expiration date which means... butter making time! I poured the cream into a quart mason jar, fastened on the lid and started shaking away. Let me tell you that unless you have Mr. T-like arms, you should never attempt to shake cream into butter in a quart jar. It weighs a lot, not to mention after the first 15 minutes it felt like I was shaking my arms out of my sockets, my hands off my wrists. And it took 45 minutes to finally get butter! It was a good thing I was watching a fascinating movie, otherwise I might have given up. (Someone asked me later if I had used a marble... uh, no. Forgot about that. Things might have gone a bit faster had I remembered.)
So, then I had all this butter. A lot of it. So, I poured off the buttermilk, put the butter in a big glass bowl and washed it. (The last time I made butter, I was using expensive local organic heavy cream and I didn't wash it very well. It went rancid. Boy, was I mad at myself!) So, this time I made darn well sure that the washing water got clear, telling me that all the buttermilk was gone. Then I thought - I don't want to put this stuff in the fridge to get hard. I'll never use it. But I don't want it to go rancid. I thought about a butter bell, but I didn't have one, so I rigged one up myself. Necessity is the mother of invention to be sure!
Butter bell: mug full of butter + a bowl of water = tight seal from the water (which is all that matters, right?) I think it works. My butter is yummy and spreadable and very not rancid. Hooray! One thing I did learn though - maybe it's because I am really sensitive to tastes in water, but you can not use tap water for the butter bell. I could taste the chlorine on the butter. This freaked me out and had me worried that I'd just ruined another batch of butter, so I scraped off the top layer, put some of my precious filtered water in the bowl and now all is right in the world again! Delicious, fresh butter for my comforting slice of homemade loaf. Mmmmm. :-)
(Man, I hate those blue mugs. They're so boring! A few weeks ago my son broke one. I'm secretly hoping more will get broken so I'll have an excuse to get ones I like.)