Pictured: Not a butter mold.
A few weeks back, 52 ran into a gentleman who works for an oil company in the area. They struck up a conversation and found they knew a few people in common, and eventually it turned out that, in fact, he drives down our rocky dirt road every day in his business overseeing the tending of various wells–and sees me milking Beulah Petunia down in the meadow bottom every morning. (It’s a small town, in a small county, in a small state. The six degrees of separation are generally limited to one or two around here before you find out how you already know someone.)
This got him to reminiscing about the cow they had when he was growing up, and the homemade butter his mother made. It must be difficult to have had fresh butter and milk and cheese and all the other wonderful things you can have on a farm….and then one day not have them anymore. He said he’d sure love to have some homemade butter again.
About a week later, he happened to come by on the road on his regular route visiting the various remote wells out here and came across 52 working on the new pasture fencing. He whipped this pig scraper (pictured above) out of his truck and said he just thought Suzanne would like to have it.
I’m not sure if I should be flattered or frightened that he thought of me when he saw a pig scraper. It’s a sorta kinda interesting albeit grotesque device that was used to scrape the hair off a pig after it met its end. This is a genuine vintage pig scraper, so I suppose I might turn it into a primitive decoration.
So another week or two goes by and he finds 52 on the road working on the pasture fencing again (yeah, 52 spent a LOT OF TIME working on the pasture fencing!) and this time he whips out this butter mold. Said he found it an antique shop in Ohio and thought Suzanne would like to have it.
I figure one of these days he’s gonna actually come on up to the house for some butter.
Or some pig hair.
Of course, I already have a trick butter bell, so what do I need with a butter mold? Honestly, I didn’t even know there were butter molds. I’ve been making my own farm-fresh butter for several months now, but just before we got the cow, we happened to have stocked up on butter, so the past few months I’ve been using some fresh butter, and some leftover store-bought butter. When I have found myself most often reaching for the store-bought butter is when I’m a hurry, fixing a recipe that calls for a stick of butter, or half stick of butter. It’s simpler to reach for a pre-measured stick than measure out from my fresh butter tubs. I’m down to the last handful of butter sticks and was mourning the ease of them just a little bit when here comes this butter mold falling in my lap. Why, I can make my own stick butter!
So I set to work deciphering the anatomical, geometrical, and metaphysical properties of my new butter mold in my Stringtown Rising Farm laboratory.
In other words, I put half a cup of water in a measuring cup and poured it into the butter mold to see how much it filled it up.
I want to make 4-ounce sticks of butter for baking use.
I eyeballed it, poured the water back out, dried it off, and loaded in the softened butter.
I figured that was pretty close to how much the 1/2 cup water filled it up.
I chilled the butter to harden it and took it back out of the mold. (It popped out easily once it was cold. It’s butter–it’s self-greasing.)
Okay, so it doesn’t look as “perfect” in shape as the store-bought stick butter, but that store-bought stick hasn’t seen a cow in so long, it wouldn’t recognize a moo if it heard one. Besides, I’m calling this homemade butter stick a primitive craft. That makes it perfect.
It also fits just right in a standard-size butter dish, should I want to use that sometimes for serving. (There’s room to put the lid on without squishing it.)
To store my stick butter, I’m wrapping it in parchment paper. I can keep several together in a small baggie, and now I can have my handy pre-measured sticks and my farm-fresh butter, too!
Just don’t ask me to do anything with the pig scraper….