Butterfat from Yoghurt

Jersey Cow

We received a request from a man in Australia asking for information on how to make butter from yoghurt. After prayer and extensive searching our efforts had turned up nothing from the Internet. Eventually we almost quite by accident were in a conversation with a Christian man who is a Fijian Hindi.

In the middle of talking about the low quality food available in New Zealand Supermarkets he was explaining the freshness of the food that his parents and grandparents used to grow and eat and how some of them had lived to ages like 106!

One of the things that our friend dropped on us was a description of how to make butter from yoghurt.

The following description has not yet been tried out since the interview.

First take fresh cow's milk (full cream) best obtained directly from the cow. Take a large amount.

Using preferably a very large cast iron boiling pot (avoid aluminium where possible) simmer-boil the milk very slowly over a slow almost ember fire. In India or Fiji we understand that this would have been done outside. Do NOT stir the milk at any point.

The milk will burn onto the bottom of the pot. In Fiji these burnings were in former times keenly sought out and eaten with sugar.

The milk will form a very thick brown skin, and will it self turn quite brown, that is also what is to be expected.

Heat in this way for five to nine hours. Twenty-four hours is said to be even better when this can be maintained.

When finished boiling down, add lemon or lime (traditionally use tamarind if available) to start the yoghurt/curdling process. Leave for up to two days until the yoghurt is quite solid.

Then beat the yoghurt.

Our friend described various means of doing this. One involved making a beater out of bamboo pieces. Another was to fashion a cross-section of twigs and attach it to a pole and then using various strings, rotate the pole in the barrel or boiling pot.

The butter fat will eventually surface form the yoghurt and if a clean environment is being maintained it is already fully pasteurised. It may be used as butterfat or be processed further to make ghee. Ghee will store outside a fridge and can be used in place of cooking oil or added directly to rice when cooked to flavour it. It apparently tastes a lot better than the ghee that can be purchased commercially today.

The yoghurt can also be eaten as a food item with rice, and if the butter fat is extracted, you end up with a light fat whey.