0

Your Cart is Empty

A Short History of Butter Making

by Jojo Frey May 19, 2014

A Short History of Butter Making

The tradition of butter making has been around for thousands of years. From Europe to Africa to South America to Asia, butter has been a staple of many cultures around the world.

At the beginning, butter making was a rudimentary process. People would fill an animal
skin sack with goat’s milk, since at this time, cows had not yet been domesticated in most of the world. They would attach the sack to a wooden tripod with rope and rock it back and forth until it eventually formed butter. Nomadic peoples would simply hang the sack off the side of a pack animal and butter would form just through the process of walking.

In time, as with all things, butter making equipment was greatly improved. There were
essentially three types of butter churns: the dash churn, the barrel churn, and the paddle churn. The dash churn was developed first. It is typically comprised of a dasher (pole) inserted into the lid of a barrel. The dasher is moved in a vertical motion, agitating the cream in the barrel.

From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, dash churns were the most
common device used to make butter. However, the dash churn was eventually replaced by the barrel churn. A barrel was mounted on wooden legs and had a crank handle that would rotate the entire barrel. Thereafter, the paddle churn, which had a crank handle operating a rotating paddle inside the churn, was popularized for it’s more efficient and less laborious process.

Butter making was an essential chore for every household. Women would spend hours
churning and storing butter for their families, and would often sell to their neighbors. The art of butter making originated in the home, however, it was not long until butter making became an industry in it’s own right. As populations swelled and communities expanded, the need for butter and other dairy products in urban areas rose.

During the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, butter was commercialized and widely
available for purchase in most countries. Post Industrial Revolution, the dairy industry in Europe began to boom.    Ireland was a primary exporter of butter, selling mostly to England.

During the 1800s, New York state was the capital of the dairy industry in our country.
The first commercial dairy farm in America was founded in Goshen, NY in the 1830s. “Goshen Butter” was a thriving industry, until it declined in the mid 1800s due to the development of railroads. Though the butter industry, and the consumption of butter, has been on a roller coaster in the United States, it is still one of our nation’s most beloved products.

Photo by Boston Public Library | CC BY 2.0

 

Jojo Frey
Jojo Frey


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Churncraft Journal

The Chef Series: Chef Luke Venner
The Chef Series: Chef Luke Venner

by Jojo Frey April 17, 2017

The other afternoon, I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with one of my favorite local chefs, Luke Venner. I got a chance to hang out behind the scenes, whip up some bomb butter and chat all things Churncraft.

Read More
Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017
Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017

by Kristin Frey April 13, 2017

A few weeks ago, a jury of 39 design experts from around the world met in Germany to judge more than 5’500 product innovations from 54 countries. After careful evaluation, the jury paid tribute to Churncraft’s design with the coveted Red Dot distinction. The Churncraft butter churn will be exhibited at the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen, Germany, along with the other winners.

Read More
The Sap is Running!
The Sap is Running!

by Kristin Frey April 05, 2017

Maple syruping time throughout New England has arrived. Syrup enthusiasts from Maine to Connecticut are outdoors tapping their maple trees and allowing the clear tree sap to trickle out of the tree trunks into collection buckets or hoses.
Read More
News & Updates

Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …