“You must be the only person who ever moved to New York City to learn how to make butter,” my mum remarks to me when I tell her that I have been making my own vegan butter. This is probably a true statement. And, if it’s not, I’m betting it’s awfully close to the truth. I move to the Big City, and suddenly I’m forgoing purchasing butter in the store. Yep. Welcome to my green life.
I have used this recipe twice, but modified it slightly. The recipe is super simple to begin with, but I have simplified it even further, if only because I am lazy. This vegan butter tastes exactly like butter, except it’s slightly sweeter because you can sort of taste the coconut oil in it if you take a mouthful (if you’ve spread it plain on toast, or it’s not fully melted on popcorn). I’m trying to cut down on my dairy intake, and I believe it’s working, because I’ve become somewhat lactose intolerant: sometimes I get a bit of an achy belly now when I consume, say, a lot of ice cream, or a large coffee with milk. At home I drink almond milk (I make my own! A recipe for another day) and, on these hot days, eat ice cream that is made out of coconut or almond milk. And they are delicious! The only milk product I still consume regularly is yogurt. My two attempts to make vegan yogurt from scratch failed miserably, so I’m still looking for a successful recipe … if you know of any, I’d love some advice!
The other reason I am making my own butter is because I am trying to cut down on my plastic usage. While you can recycle #5 containers through the Gimme 5 program. I am learning that the first R is most important: Reduce before you Reuse and Recycle. I haven’t purchase a new butter in months, and I use an old Smart Balance container to hold two cubes of butter at a time in the fridge, while the other cubes stay in my freezer for months. Make a batch, and if you’re not baking all of the time, it’ll last you awhile!
Once again, this recipe is not mine: I have just adapted it from Mattie. (Language is majority Mattie’s, with some modifications from me, not always noted).
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
1. Place the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or so. The mixture will curdle with soy milk, but I don’t notice much curdling with the almond milk. So, after 10 minutes, I use it no matter how it looks.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it’s barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it’s mixed. [Catherine’s note: in this heat, my coconut oil is already liquefied, so I stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. Even though the oil was a bit goopy last time, my butter still turned out okay.]
3. Add the almond milk mixture, soy lecithin, canola oil, and xanthan gum to the food processor. Process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through.
4. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. [I had a larger than ice-cube-tray-size mold that a boss gave me from an old book campaign, and that is what I used for my cubes. A bit smaller than Mattie’s, but it works.] The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. Makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks vegan butter.
5. Spread it on some toast, on a bagel, use it in baking, or on top of homemade popcorn. Nom!
Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.