Consumer IQ

I Can’t Believe I Made Butter!

Butter

We made our own butter for the first time this past weekend and, wow — it’s easier than making yogurt! But is making your own butter any cheaper than purchasing it from the store?

First, a quick look at my butter recipe so I can rest my case that making butter is ridiculously easy.

It’s easier than making cake from a box, or boiling up some mac & cheese. (The first thing my husband said after making our first batch was, “Why don’t we do this all the time?”)

What you’ll need

  • Heavy cream
  • Mixer with a whisk attachment
  • Strainer
  • 10 minutes

1. Let the heavy cream come to room temperature.

2. Whisk on high. When you have whipping cream, keep going! After about six minutes, liquid will splash into the bowl and thick yellow stuff will cling to the whisk. The clumpy stuff is butter and the liquid is buttermilk!

3. Strain the mixture and set aside your fresh buttermilk. In the sink, run water through your butter to remove any extra liquid. Smash together your butter curds with a spatula and refrigerate.

It’s that easy! Seriously, you have GOT to try making your own butter. If the simplicity of the task hasn’t convinced you, then maybe the savings will.

How much does it cost to make your own butter?

Whatever amount of heavy cream you start with, about 40 percent of it will turn into butter and the remaining 60 percent will become buttermilk.

The percentage breakdown is important because now we know the butter costs 40 percent of the price of heavy cream, and the buttermilk costs 60 percent.

If you throw out the buttermilk, the butter costs 100 percent of the heavy cream. Egads! (More on uses for buttermilk below.)

A quart of Stop & Shop heavy cream costs $4.29. Your homemade butter costs 40 percent of $4.29, or $1.72. That $1.72 nets you 13 ounces of butter. At that price, a pound of homemade butter (16 ounces) would cost you $2.12.

Store prices

A pound of Stop & Shop butter costs $2.99, but a few times a year goes on sale for $1.99. The pricier Land O’Lakes butter costs $4.69, but you can usually find or buy a coupon.

So far, making homemade butter is a lot cheaper than buying it.

If you go organic, you may have to buy two pints of heavy cream. My local Stop & Shop does not sell organic heavy cream by the quart.

Each pint costs $3.99. There are two pints in a quart. That $7.98 of organic heavy cream breaks down to 40 percent butter ($3.19) and 60 percent buttermilk ($4.79).

At those prices, a pound of homemade organic butter would cost $3.93.

Organic butter prices

On a recent trip, I saw Organic Valley butter for sale for $6.59. Wow!

So not only is making your own butter cheaper, but you also get delicious buttermilk! A quart of heavy cream yields about 19 ounces of buttermilk.

If you are worried about wasting your fresh buttermilk, you can use it to make ice cream, biscuits and casseroles, among many other tasty dishes.

While homemade butter is cheaper than store bought, buttermilk from the store is cheaper than homemade. What a surprise!

It breaks down to about $2.19 for store bought non-organic versus $4.33 for homemade (my store does not sell organic buttermilk).

If you total the cost of both dairy products, here’s how the homemade vs. store bought comparison shakes out.

A pound of homemade butter and a quart of homemade buttermilk add up to $6.45. Those same quantities of store bought products would add up to $5.18.

Wait, what?

Buying is cheaper than doing it yourself, in this instance, due to the relatively low cost of buttermilk. Doh!

If you can get a cheap source of heavy cream, perhaps from a local farmer, the numbers might work in your favor.

Would you make your own butter?

Julia Scott shares the best curated freebies on her blog, BargainBabe.com.