Friday, March 15, 2013

What Is It? Where Is It? (March): Butter Churn Dasher

March's "What Is It? Where Is It?" featured an item that should have looked familiar to the folks who took Erin's Hearth Cooking Class last Saturday as it was located in the Summer Kitchen and they all took turns using it to make butter for the bread that they baked in the kitchen's bake oven.

It is the dasher from the butter churn. The wooden dasher fits inside the wooden churn (like a wooden barrel, the churn needs to be soaked so the wood swells and the contents don't all leak out) and is moved up and down to churn the cream into butter. The constant motion causes the fat globules in the cream to stick together (the butter) while the buttermilk (or water part of the cream) separates out. Once the butter is made, it needs to be drained and pressed to remove additonal liquid and form a nice, creamy spread. In a full size churn it can take some time, but the results are well worth it. There are some shortcuts you can take though to produce homemade butter with less effort, including churning with a mixer, putting the cream in a sealed jar and driving around with it, or making small quantities in a jar by shaking (this is a great activity for kids).

We'll be back in April with another edition of "What Is It? Where Is It?" - you never know where we might end up. To see the Marriage Marks in January or the Door Counterweight in February, just click the links.

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