Making butter home-front style

Butter in a Jar

A comment was made by a reader this morning..

QUOTE BY STAN  “A little memory:- Every day, my Mother put the ‘top of the milk’ into a Kilner jar with salt and each Friday, my Father sat shaking the jar till the contents became a sort of butter which Mother used to eke out her butter ration.”

This reminded me that I had done this many years ago and had written about it (I photograph and write about anything new I try) and ABSOLUTELY this would have been done by many on the home-front during WW2 to find a little extra butter on occasion.

Making butter is really very quick and easy so what better way than to make your very first batch than in a jar. This is a great way of showing your children or infact younger children at school how butter is made and everyone in the family can shake their own jar and marvel at their results. (and for some reason its incredibly funny standing around shaking jars)

Save the top off the milk and try it or for quickness buy cream from your store


1 litre of single, double or whipping cream ( store bought homogenized works fine)
2-4 large clean jars with lids.
Pinch of salt


Clean wooden spoons
Clean mixing bowl
Fine mesh sieve
Waxed paper or cling film.

Butter making tip: For best results leave cream at room temperature for a few hours before hand


  • Divide 1 litre of cream into 2 1L jars or into 4 jam jars. Cream can be added straight from the fridge but a good tip is to rinse glass jars in hot water immediately before hand.
  • Tighten lids and shake. The cream will start to thicken after 4 or 5 minutes and after a few more minutes will begin to turn rapidly into the butter solids and the buttermilk. The butter solids begin to clump together and the thin skimmed type milk sloshing around is the buttermilk.
  • As soon as you have butter solids and buttermilk in the jar and the butter solids are clumping together it is time to drain the contents of the jar through the fine mesh sieve. The buttermilk will pass through the sieve leaving the clump of butter solids in the sieve.
  • Leave to drain for a few minutes and put aside the buttermilk as you can use this for cooking, drinking or giving to the cat.
  • Next run the sieve under a gentle flow of cold tap water, just for a few seconds, to wash the outside of the butter.
  • Place the clump of butter into a large bowl. At this stage add some fine salt one pinch at a time to taste. With the back of the wooden spoons, begin to work the butter to form a pat. As you squeeze the pat and reshape it, further buttermilk will be excreted by the butter pat. Drain away frequently and continue to reshape and squeeze gently.
  • When little or no more buttermilk is draining from the pat, wash the pat with a little cold water and drain and move it onto a flat surface with cling film or wax paper underneath before the final shaping.
  • Finally place in butter dish or wrap loosely in wax paper or put in bowl and cover with cling film before placing in the fridge to cool.

Footnote: 1L of cream will make around 1lb of butter.