Butter has been around for over 4,000 years. The discovery of it is said to have been a mistake.

Long ago, people made sacks out of animal skin to carry liquids, such as water and milk. They would haul these sacks on their beasts of burden to wherever they were going. On the way, the pouches would swing and bump against the animal, agitating the contents inside. When the people opened the sack with milk, they found a big, yellow-colored, fatty lump instead. With this discovery, butter was born and has forever changed lives in every culture.

Since then, butter has been a staple and will continue to be. Through the years, butter-making has progressed from swinging sacks to wooden churns and now factories. Many cultures depend on butter for religious reasons, as well as normal everyday use. Many delicious foods would not exist without it. It’s a wonder how butter isn’t the eighth wonder of the world.

Try this activity at home.



Heavy Cream (Stewart’s works well, Walmart and Pics brand won’t work)

1 Quart Mason jar w/lid

Mixer w/ bowl

Measuring cup

2 bowls


Cold water

Stopwatch (optional)

Paper towels

Individual containers for kids to take home (optional)


Shaking Method

Measure out 1 cup heavy cream. Add to jar and close tightly.

Shake continually and vigorously, switching off to helpers as you go. Otherwise, it’s a great arm workout.

Start stopwatch, if using. Time how long it takes to form.

After a minute or two of shaking, you will notice little to no sloshing. This is because the heavy cream turned to whipped cream. Keep shaking. It will turn back into liquid form and then you’ll begin to notice clumps starting to form. This is the butter starting to form. Shake until it’s one big clump.

Mixer Method

Measure out 1 cup of heavy cream. Add to mixing bowl. Mix on high until butter forms.

Start stopwatch, if using. Time how long it takes to form.

Cream will turn to whipped cream at first. Keep mixing until fat separates from liquid. It’s ready when it’s a big clump.

Strain. Lay cheesecloth over one bowl. Dump contents of jar/mixing bowl into the center of cloth. Gather cloth around butter clump and tighten into ball, squeezing out excess liquid.

Rinse the butter. Measure ½ cup cold water into unused bowl. Place butter into cold water and knead. Dump out used water and replace with fresh water. Repeat process 3-4 times.

Dry off butter with paper towels.

Butter is now ready to taste.

If letting kids take home butter, now would be the time to divide it into the individual containers.

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