No sloven can make good butter. The one thing to be kept in mind, morning, noon and night, is neatness, neatness, neatness. The milking should be done in the cleanest place that can be found, and the cows should be kept as clean as possible. Wash the teats and udders thoroughly with plenty of cold water, and wipe with a cloth or towel. Never wash with the hand moistened with milk from the cow. The least impurity taints the cream, and takes from the sweetness of the butter. Milk perfectly clean, (as the last quart is twice as rich in butter as the first,) and the quicker the milking is done the more milk is obtained. The milk-room should be clean and sweet, its air pure, and temperature about 62 degrees. As soon as a pail is filled, take to the milk-room and strain the milk through a fine wire-cloth strainer, kept for the purpose, and not attached to the pail (the simple strainer being more easily kept clean). Never allow milk to stand in the stable and cool, as it absorbs the foul odors of the place. The pans (flat stone crocks with flaring sides are better that tin pans. In winter hot water should be poured into them while milking is being done, and poured out just before straining the milk into them) should be set on slats, rather than shelves, as it is important to have the milk cooled from the animal heat as soon as possible. Skim each day, or at longest within twenty-four hours. Souring does not injure the quality of the cream, but the milk should not be allowed to become watery. Do not use a perforated skimmer, but remove a little of the milk with the cream, as this does not injure the quality or lessen the quantity of butter, and gives more well-flavored buttermilk, which is a favorite and wholesome drink. If there is cream enough each day, it should, of course, be churned, and this plan makes the best butter, although it takes longer to churn it. If not, the cream should be set aside in a cool place, covered, and stirred thoroughly whenever more is added. It ought not to stand more than two days, and must not be allowed to become bitter and flaky. The best plan is to churn as soon as it becomes slightly acid. Scald the churn and dash thoroughly, and put in the cream at a temperature of 58 degrees. The motion of the churn will soon bring it up to about 60 degrees. When the butter comes put a quart or two of cold, soft water (or ice is better) into the churn to harden the butter, and make it easier to gather up. After gathering it as well as possible with the dash, it should be removed to the table or bowl, and thoroughly worked with a flat wooden paddle, (never with the hand, as the insensible perspiration will more or less taint the butter,) using an abundance of cold soft water to wash out the buttermilk and harden the butter. By this process the buttermilk is removed quickly, and there is no need of excessive working, which injures the grain of the butter. This is especially true of that which is to be packed, as it keeps longer when well washed. If to be used immediately, the washing may be less thorough. Another and better plan is to remove the butter to a marble slab and lay on the top of it a piece of ice. As it settles down by its own weight, work it up around the edges with the paddle, and the water from the melting ice will wash out and carry off the buttermilk. Before or during the churning, the bowl (which should never be used for any thing else) in which the butter is to be salted should be filled with scalding water, which should remain for ten minutes; pour out and rub both bowl and
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paddle with hard coarse salt, which prevents butter from sticking. Rinse thoroughly and fill with cold or ice-water to cool. After washing butter free from milk, remove to this bowl, having first poured out the cold water, and (the butter-bowl and paddle should occasionally be scoured with sand or ashes, washed thoroughly with soap-suds, and rinsed until all smell of soap has disappeared,) work in gradually salt which has been pulverized by rolling, and freed from foreign substances. If wanted for use, one-half ounce of salt> to the pound of butter is sufficient, but if wanted for packing, use three-fourths of an ounce or even an ounce of salt. Use only the best quality of dairy salt. After salting, cover with cotton cloth soaked in brine, and set away in a temperature of about 60 degrees for twelve hours. Work the second time just enough to get the remaining buttermilk out. This, however, must be done thoroughly, as otherwise the acid of the buttermilk will make the butter rancid. At the end of the second working it is ready for use, and should be kept in a clean, sweet place, as it soon absorbs bad odors and becomes tainted. The air of a cellar in which are decaying vegetables soon ruins the sweetest butter.
In packing for market, (ash butter-tubs are the neatest and best packages,) soak the package for twelve hours in brine strong enough to float an egg, pack the butter in evenly and firmly, having first put in a thin layer of salt. If the tub is not filled by the first packing, set away until next churning, in a cool place, with a cotton cloth wet in brine spread over the butter, and place cover carefully on the tub. When filled, lay over the butter a cotton cloth (from which the sizing has been washed) soaked in strong brine, nail up the tub, and set away in a clean, cool place until ready to sell.
In packing for family use, work into rolls, lay in large stone crocks, cover with brine strong enough to float an egg, in which a level tea-spoon of saltpeter and a pound of white sugar to each two gallons have been added; over it place a cotton cloth and a weight to keep the butter under the brine, and tie a paper over the top of crock. Or pack in a stone jar, pressing it solid with a wooden pestle, cover with a cloth wet in brine, and sprinkle over it salt an inch thick. When ready to pack the next churning, remove the cloth with the salt carefully, rinsing off with water any that may have been scattered in uncovering it, pack butter as before, replace cloth with salt over it, and repeat until jar is filled to within two inches of the top, cover all with cloth, add salt to the top of crock, tie paper over the top and set in a cool place. In removing for use each churning comes out by itself.