Rocking Butter Churn - Farmers Bank
Artefact History :
Home butter-making took time and energy, but only needed simple equipment. It became less common for ordinary families to make their own butter in the course of the 19th century, but the old ways were still used on small farms and in the dairies belonging to grand houses.
After the cow(s) were milked, the milk was left to settle in a cool place, in shallow dishes, also called setting dishes or pancheons, so the cream would rise to the top. (Unless the butter was to be made from whole milk: less common than making it from cream.)
After half a day or so, the cream was skimmed off and put ready for the churn. Small home producers would want to collect a few days of milking to have enough cream to be worth churning, and a little fermentation would "ripen" the flavour. But the cream couldn't be left waiting too long in summer-time.
Cream-skimmers were used to lift off the cream. These worked well if they were shallow with a thin, almost sharp, edge. Skimmers from the last couple of centuries were often saucer-shaped with perforations to catch the cream while letting milk drip back into the pan.
Moving the cream constantly is the churning that actually produces butter by separating out the yellow fat from the buttermilk. Simply shaking it in a closed jamjar for an hour or so will work, or you can swing unseparated milk in an animal skin hung on sticks, an ancient method still used in some parts of the world.
For more information on different types of churns and the history of butter making please click on a following link below: