Forever ago my friend Ermelin, from Cooking Hat, and I decided to have a baking night! We had the hardest time simplifying and limiting ourselves so we didn't take on too much! Originally we planned to make bread, butter, cheese, and two kinds of pie. But that list quickly got shortened to bread and butter. I'm not complaining. I feel like those are the two best things in life.

Ermelin is an amazing, hard working, mom with a full time job. So, needless to say, she's busy! She worked a full work day, then brought her family over to my house and we started our baking around 8pm. Between our excitement to finally be baking together and our exhaustion from daily responsibilities, we were a tad on the delirious side.

Neither of us read through our recipe fully before starting (which is like the number one rule in baking. You can't really just wing it.) so each of our breads struggled to come together. I was making Sweet Hawaiian Bread from Barbara Bakes. She was making a 100% whole wheat bread (from King Aurthur Flour). I'm all about a recipe where everything goes in at the same time. Neither of our recipes were of that nature.

Baking bread has been one of my absolute favorite things on earth. I LOVE fresh bread. I love fully proofed dough. When its all big and soft and pillowy and dreamy. I could seriously sleep on a bed of proofed bread dough. Yum. Imagine the dreams I'd have.... Okay I'm getting off track. But, when my dough wasn't rising properly I was devastated. So I decided to try a different recipe as a consolation.

I went with Julia Child's white sandwich bread, and I found it here. I was determined not to have another failed loaf so I read the directions very carefully. Truthfully, this is not a difficult recipe, none of them were. And on a normal day without distractions, and a few diet cokes under my belt, we would have breezed through any of them.

My Julia Child's dough rose twice as fast as my Sweet Hawaiian and Ermelin's Whole Wheat. I was so excited to see that I hadn't lost my touch completely! I rolled it out, folded, then rolled into a loaf and was so proud when it finally made it into the pan. As far as the Hawaiian Bread, I didn't have my heart set on success so I formed it into a ball and baked it in an pie plate. Even though her dough started off iffy, Ermelin's whole wheat bread came together in the end!

While our bread was rising and baking we started on our butter. I don't know why I've always wanted to make butter. Probably because in culinary school anytime someone over-whipped their whipped cream our pastry chef would ask us why we were making butter. I always felt dumb in the moment, but it piqued my interest. So when Ermelin suggested making butter I was immediately on board.

Here's what you need:

Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt (optional)
(no really, that's it)

Stand or Hand Mixer (Or a whisk and some serious biceps)
Mesh Strainer/Sifter
Bowl of Ice Water

1. Pour cream into Mixer and continue full speed ahead.

2. Continue Mixing until Cream thickens

3.Continue Mixing

4. Mix More

5. Keep Mixing until Cream becomes chunky
(photo on left)

6. Continue Mixing

7. Don't give up. Keep Mixing

8.Stop Mixing when your cream has separated into milk fat, and butter milk.
(photo on right)

9. Transfer into your strainer (which should be over a decently deep bowl.)

10. Start squishing and squeezing until you've removed as much buttermilk as possible.

(It should look like this when you're done)
*Keep butter milk and use it in pancakes or biscuits, or whatever else you use buttermilk for!

11. Now you're going to wash your butter! Place your butter into the bowl of ice water. This will cause the milk fats to solidify and separate from your buttermilk! You'll need to empty your ice water and repeat this step a few times until your water is no longer murky.

12. Salt to taste (if you want) and enjoy on a slice of warm fresh bread with a drizzle of honey!

13. Die and go to heaven.

I enjoyed this process tremendously. It was hands-on and resulted in one of my top 5 favorite foods. Now you're probably wondering, why don't more people make their own butter?? Two reasons: 1. Butter is cheaper than Cream. 2. Buying a pound of butter is easier than making it. So maybe it doesn't make sense financially or time-wise. But, I will say that it is an experience that I think everyone should have.

To see one of our every day staples made from start to finish was so interesting. The only thing cooler would have been if we made it like our grandparents and great grandparents and filled a jar with cream and rolled it back and forth on the floor. I think I'll make sure my kids get to do that at least once in their life. FHE idea?? Perhaps! Do you think Gunner is too young for that? Hah!

Overall the night was a blast! My Julia Child's recipe turned out perfectly. I had zero complaints. Ermelin's Whole Wheat bread turned out perfect as well. She got great feedback from the people she shared it with. My sweet Hawaiian bread was a pretty severe failure. But only because I forgot to set a timer and took it out way too early and the inside was completely raw. I was so disappointed because the parts that were fully cooked were delicious! I couldn't believe it! If I had just set a timer and cooked it fully, it would have been a success. Although, Ermelin's husband liked it so much he ate it even in its fallen state.

By the time everything was said and done, it was like 2 am and we literally almost blew up our air mattress for them to spend the night. We were all exhausted! But, we filled our bellies with the fruits of our hard work and quickly slipped into a carb induced slumber (the best kind!!)

I'm not sure if this is really considered a baking post? I'm still trying to figure out how I want to go about sharing my recipes and triumphs/mishaps in the kitchen. Any feedback/suggestions are welcome! I want to know what you guys want to read about!

Thanks for reading this extra-long post!

P.S. If you love to follow food bloggers, be sure to follow Ermelin's blog HERE!

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