I began butter making at a young age. My dad purchased our first dairy cow when I was in the fourth grade. She was a Jersey cow. Jersey cattle produce the highest amount of cream, or butter fat, per any breed of cattle.
With this one cow, we began our entrance into the dairy industry. Eventually, we had a fully-operational dairy farm. At one time, we had over 60 milk cows, not including bulls, steers, heifers, calves, and other assorted livestock.
Prior to our owning and operating a complete dairy operation, part of our dairy activities were processing the products. After we became a full time dairy operation, we joined a dairy cooperative, called Dairymen, Inc., and the handled all the processing, marketing, and distribution.
When we began our dairy efforts, butter making was one of our main processing activities. This followed milking the cow(s) and bringing the milk to the house. Then, we strained the milk to remove trash and impurities. The milk would be stored in a refrigerator for about a day.
After about a day, the cream was “skimmed” from the top of the milk. Now, with a Jersey cow, this often meant that less than one-half of the jug would remain. It seemed that our Jersey cows would give as much as 60% butter fat.
Next, the cream would be ready to use to make butter. When we began, we had a old-fashioned butter churn. With this churn, we would crank the handle. Cranking the handle caused several paddles to spin in the churn’s container. This would agitate the cream. The agitation of the cream would make the butter. The end product of the churning process would be butter and buttermilk.
After the butter was churned, we would drain the buttermilk, and go on to the final stage of processing. We would lightly salt the butter and mold it. Again, we began using old fashioned molds just like the rest of our dairy efforts.