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Making Butter

Posted on 04/20/20 by Amanda in Early Childhood

Need an activity that will keep your preschooler busy for a while? Look no further than homemade butter.

Everybody loves butter. It's delicious, creamy, sometimes salty, and perfect on a slice of warm bread. Maybe you've been experimenting with the yeast you snagged at the grocery store - this is a great addition. And, it's so easy to make, it just takes a little time.

There are two ways we make butter in our classrooms, and one takes a bit more muscle.

You'll need:

  • Heavy cream (more cream just makes more butter)
  • Salt (a pinch, add more to taste)

Butter: Mixer Method

  • All you need is a mixer (hand or stand) and a bowl

Perhaps the easiest way to make butter is to dump heavy cream in a mixing bowl and get to mixing with a hand mixer. You could use a stand mixer for this, there's just less hands-on opportunity there. If you're using a whole container of heavy cream, expect this to take quite a while.

You'll know the butter is getting close when it starts to get lumpy. Soon after, especially if your mixer is on high speed, the solids of the cream will separate from the liquids.

Then, massage the ball of butter a bit until it comes together in your hands. It will melt a bit and that's okay. This is the best time to add salt or any other add in's you'd like. Experiment with different herbs and spices, like cinnamon or garlic. Delicious!

Butter: Shake Method

  • You'll just need a small jar with a closing lid - baby food jars work best!

This method is definitely more work-intensive. This could be something your child returns to throughout the day, just keep the cream cool in between mixings.

We're essentially making a tiny butter churn here. Add a bit of cream (the less cream, the faster you'll get butter) and a pinch of salt to the jar. You can add a small marble or other sanitized object for resistance - this will help the "churning" go faster. Just be sure to remove the object from the butter when you're done.

Now you're ready to shake. Shake up, shake down, shake side-to-side. Work together, work alone. If your child needs a break, just store the cream in the fridge until they're ready to start again.

Encourage your child to listen to the sound inside the jar. At the beginning it's sloshing like liquid, but by the end, the sound is muffled and slower. Before you know it, the butter comes together in a beautiful ball, ready to eat. It's almost like magic!

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