Sunday, May 22, 2022

Barrel butter churns 1758-1805

It is spring, so time for another post on butter. Over the years I have covered butter types and shapes, and a wide variety of churns. HERE. Instead of plunger churns, with the up and down motion, the barrel churns used a circular motion. Pictured is a c1900 churn of my great grandmother from an eastern PA farm.

Following several period descriptions of barrel churns, there will be this week's virtual food history talks... as well as the wonderful Dublin Symposium -
May 31-Je 1 Dublin Gastronomy Symposium 2022: Food and Movement. In person; and Online Tickets €30 HERE. Schedule HERE

"Of the use of the barrel churn. 1758
The best way of making butter with this churn is out of cream got in the usual way. This is to be strained into the barrel churn, and the advantage is, that turning upon a spindle the motion of this churn, if well managed, is more regular: but at the same time there requires a great deal more skill in the use of it. The greatest mistake made with this churn, is the turning it about too quick. I have seen butter made and unmade again many times over, by working it in this manner.

The rule is, that the turning be gentle, slow, and steady; for this soft motion on the spindle is equal to a very sharp beating in the downright way. When this turning is done in the right manner, the butter comes quick, and very fine. It is hard, sweet salted, and will keep; whereas the single article of too violent turning, will make the same cream yield a soft, bitter butter, that will not keep. This gentle motion must be kept up without interruption, from the first turn till the butter comes, for all goes backward upon stoping. When the motion has been too brisk, and the butter is near made, I have seen, that on stopping a minute only, the cream and butter milk have mixed again almost as entirely as before, and the whole work was to have been done over again.
The housewife is to see the barrel churn turned constantly, till the butter comes: the needs not to open it to examine into this, for she will know by the sound: there is a particular squashing noise in the churn when the butter is come, quite different from what the cream made before: then she is not to order the servant to stop, but only to turn more softly and gently. This serves to finish the separation of the buttery parts, and to bring them together into a lump: this must be continued half an hour, and by that time all will be perfectly done.

The butter is then to be taken out of the churn, and well worked with the hand; and the salt mixed with it according to the intention of spending it fresh, or keeping. In salting of butter, it is a good method to have the salt beat to powder: some have used basket salt, because of its fineness, but it is dear and has little taste, in comparison of the other. Every housewife knows how to powder common salt, by first drying it, and this is the best for the use of butter. In churning by the barrel churn, the same cautions are to be used as in the other way, respecting the season of the year and condition of the vessels. The churn must be kept as carefully clean as the other: in summer it must be well cooled from the scalding, and in winter it should be left warm."
A compleat body of husbandry. Containing rules for performing, in the most profitable manner, the whole business of the farmer and country gentleman ...Compiled from the original papers of the late Thomas Hale… v.3 London: 1758

“Woman churning butter.” 1805
"... Butter is generally made in England with the churn; for many ages the pump or upright form was used; but of late years the barrel churn has been adopted, which answer best for large dairies: this machine has recently experienced great improvement. And in some places, where there are very extensive dairies, it is constructed so as to be worked by a horse. ..."
Pyne, William H. Costume of Great Britain. 1805 (and large barrel image)
"My dear Brother c1802 -
It appears that the Ironplate in which the handle works to churn, being both inside & out connecting the dasher is a bad plan. The Iron axletre or handle, working in this plate creates, from the cream which gets on it, a black oil which works out inside & out and mixes with the Butter. Do my dear Brother be good enough to mention this to the workman who sent it and know in what manner they succeed (?) in Pennsylvania, or if at all. In other respects it is just what we wanted- Do answer this immediately as I think of trying to get it altered." …
E. Lee [Eliza Collins Lee, 1768-1858; Mrs. Richard Bland Lee at Sully their plantation in VA to Zaccheus Collins, in Phila?] ?1802 HERE

Past posts on Butter making process with pics, Butter shapes 17th-19th cen, Butter shapes Dutch/Flemish 16-17th, Churns: People powered, Dogs and sheep, May butter/grass butter, Making butter yellow, Bitter butter in winter, Garlic Butter (cows eating wild garlic) and more. HERE.
Image of dasher and barrel churns - The Progress of the dairy: illustrated with eight engravings descriptive of the method of making butter and cheese for the information of youth. London: 1816.
Image of horse - Flint, Charles L. Milch Cows and Dairy Farming… Boston: 1864.

May 23-28 week long. FEASTSF: San Francisco-based virtual festival celebrating food & eating as art forms. Virgie Tovar. Schedule: HERE

May 23 Mon 7 Poor Houses and Town Farms: The Hard Row for Paupers. Stephen Taylor. Chesterfield Historical Society NH HERE

May 24 Tue 8-9:30 A History of Cookbooks and Recipes. Sarah Lohman. Brooklyn Brainery $10 HERE

May 25 Wed 7AM Kibworth Harcourt Mill Repair Project. 1711 only surviving post windmill. Dr. David Holmes. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) £8 tape for registered HERE

May 25 Wed 12 We need to talk about...How to Find Reliable Sources of Information. Jeremy Cherfas (Eat This Podcast), Elizabeth Yorke, Anusha Murthy (Edible Issues), Ken Albala (Food: A Cultural Culinary History). Oxford Food Symposium. £15 HERE

May 25 Wed 1 Double Take Online: Feast Your Eyes. “two Smithsonian experts [talk] about "Breakfast Tacos" [photo] and the cultural significance of the food we eat.” Claudia Zapata, Steve Velasquez. Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery HERE

May 25 Wed 7 Transpacific Engagements: Trade, Translation, and Visual Culture of Entangled Empires (1565–1898) Book panel series. 3/3 (Mr 30, Ap27) Getty Center CA HERE

May 25 Wed 8 Indian Street Food. Ranjana Bhargave. Culinary Historians of Chicago HERE TAPE may be HERE

May 25 Wed 8-9:30 Food and Art. “histories of Zoomorphic Tureens, Ginger Jars, Renaissance Sugar Sculptures, and Swan Eating. Then she'll cover two more modern art pieces…” Sarah Lohman, Jonathan Soma. Brooklyn Brainery $9 HERE

May 26 Thu 10:30AM Port Out, Starboard Home! The History & Etiquette of The Holiday (vacations). Steven Moore. The English Manner £30.77 HERE

May 26 Thu 11AM-12:30 Sustainable Spain: Through tradition & innovation. Tasting Climate Change. HERE

May 26 Thu 12-12:45 Tastes Like War. “Korean meals, memories of a mother fighting racism and the onset of schizophrenia…” Grace M. Cho, Emma Ito. VA Festival of the Book HERE

May 26 Thu 12-1:30 Flatbreads! of Choice or Poverty. Rubel's Bread History Seminar. William Rubel HERE

May 26 Thu 12:30-2 Food Relief Parcels for Jewish Prisoners in Nazi-Occupied Europe. Jan Lambertz, Jan Láníček. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) HERE

May 26 Thu 1 Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland. Kristy Nabhan-Warren. Iowa History 101. State Historical Society of Iowa HERE

May 26 Thu 2 Unearthed History: Freed Enslaved Peoples and the Poor Farm. Kathy Ostrander Roberts. Brick Store Museum. Kennebunk, ME. tape for registrants and museum members HERE

May 26 Thu 6:30 Transfer Restaurant. A Taste of Old Colony History. “looking back at menus from the Transfer Restaurant and whipping up some of their classics…” Old Colony History Museum MA HERE TAPE may be HERE

May 26 Thu 8-10 Scotch. Exploration of Speyside and the Highlands. Exploration of Scotch pt 2. Kurt Maitland & Sarah Jeltema. Museum of Distilled Spirits $25 HERE

May 27 Fri 9AM Crowning King and Restoration: Charles II’s coronation, 1661. [?maybe have banquet?] Dr Neil Johnston. The National Archives £15 tape available for 2 days HERE. Richard III coronation 1483. June 17
Banqueting sweets for a Prince of Wales c1610 blog post on online recipe manuscript with 4 page list of banqueting foods, many period paintings and TAPE of the talk also HERE

May 27 Fri 2-4 Angela Hartnett's Good Food for Real Life. Food Season. The British Library £5 Hybrid, tape for two days HERE

May 27 Fri 8 Sake Through the Ages. “how sake evolved in Japan over the centuries, touching on its uses, applications, and types of sake at the time.” Mark Zheng-Garratt . Japan America Society of Chicago HERE

May 27 Fri 9-9:40 pm Singapore's heritage food. “UNESCO recognised our hawker culture as an intangible cultural heritage.” Article HERE. Heygo HERE

May 28 Sat 1 New Jersey's Drinking Water Crisis of 1876. Kevin Olsen. County of Passaic HERE

May 29 Sun 3-5 Indigenous Cuisine with Chef Douglas Hyndford. Bannock, Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette. Saskatchewan Intercultural Association, Canada HERE

May 31-Je 1 Dublin Gastronomy Symposium 2022: Food and Movement. In person, and Online Tickets €30 HERE. Provisional schedule HERE


©2022 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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