This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
From: Jim Richardson , rec.food.cooking
Subject: Easy Homemade Butter
Buy the freshest and best whipping cream you can find. Otherwise, your
results will only be a step or two above the butter you buy at the store.
I find that milk and cream at natural food stores often comes from smaller
local dairies and tastes far better than what *any* of the grocery chains
sell. As with sharp and extra sharp cheddar cheeses, the typical quality
has gone *way* down over the past 20 years, as people who live in "dairy
country" know well. Even the skim milk from some of these smaller dairies
has a richness somewhere between "grocery chain" whole milk and 2% -- and
it tastes far better.
Chill your blender in your freezer for 20 minutes. Remove and add 2 cups
cold (but not frozen) whipping cream + 1/4 tsp salt + a few drops yellow
food coloring. Blend on high for about 20 seconds, or until the cream
stiffly sticks to the blender blades. Add 1/2 cup of ice water, no ice.
Blend on high about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, until
all the butter fully separates from the water/liquid. Remove from blender,
put into the middle of a handkerchief. Chill further, if necessary, then
twist and wring it tightly, removing the water. This will make about a stick
and a half's worth of butter. Make it the same day as you'll serve it.
Shape into curls or balls. Your guests won't forget it.
[N.B.: In case you don't have a blender, or you want to do it the authentic
Wisconsin-elementary school method: take a very clean Miracle Whip jar, fill
1/4 with cream or non-homogenized milk, screw the lid on tightly, shake the
jar briskly until you get butter. Make sure you don't fill the jar, as you
need the airspace to shake the liquid, and don't try it with homogenized
milk because the milkfat globules are too small and too evenly distributed
throughout the milk to form butter.--LEB