मख्खन or Cultured Butter..it is all about the nostalgia!
Nostalgia is defined as pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again. When I moved to the US I realized there are so many such things that make me nostalgic and funnily a lot of them were related to food. Food that was made for festivals, a dish mom prepared specially for my birthday, a visit to the farm and eating something farm fresh and the list goes on. One such dish is the ‘White Butter’ or मख्खन as we call it in Hindi. This is how butter was made in India before we started getting Amul which is an equivalent of the salted butter we get here in the US. It is one of those things that makes everything better in life. Serve it on a hot Jowar (Sorgum) bhakri, or eat it on a piece of toast, it just makes everything tastes better, and I think that is why it is the favorite of Lord Krishna. He was fondly called a butter thief (मख्खन चोर ). He would steal it and distribute it among the cowherds who would tend to the cows.
Since we do not get White butter here in the US, I decided to make it at home. I haven been making it for the last 2 years and loving it.
1 quart Best quality heavy cream 3 tbsp yogurt with live bacteria
Heat the cream to 110 F. Let it cool down to 100F, do not let the temperature fall below that. Add the yogurt and mix well. Now you want to keep this mixture in a warm place so the bacteria get to work and the cream sets well. Once you have the set cream, it is time to churn till you get the butter. The butter will float on top and you would have buttermilk that is equally yummy. There are a couple of tips I would like to share: 1. It helps adding a few ice cubes to help to butter to start forming a ball. 2. You can also strain the mixture to get all the buttermilk out of the butter. My mom also ‘washes’ the butter with cold water to remove any tart buttermilk from it. You want to wash it till you get pretty much clear water. I love eating fresh butter with a whole grain unleavened bread, Bhakri. Growing up Bhakri was the bread for dinner each night. Made from whole ground sorghum, it is my most favorite bread on this earth. I will write a post on it soon. Incidentally I came across an article in Food Wine on this very topic, here is the link to it.
I always make Makkhan the old fashioned way, culture the cream and then churn it with ‘mathani’. Since today I had to make it on a large scale I used Vitamix, and it was so easy. The jury is still out if the texture of the makkhan is the same but it sure took 1/10th of the time to make.
Makkhan in Vitamix