Butter making in Darling

“In 1899, two Swedes set up a creamery in Darling, to produce butter. They continued in this business until 1950 at which time production was moved to Paarden Eiland. Some of the artifacts on display here may be similar to those used in the creamery but many predate that era and also reflect butter making on a smaller scale.

(This article contributed by Cathy Hall, Darling Museum.)

“The dairy cattle in the Darling area were mainly Friesland and not Guernsey .

The earliest form of separating cream was by allowing the milk to settle in large shallow pans. The lighter fat globules floated to the surface and formed cream. Later, mechanical operators were used. These used centrifugal force to “throw the lighter fat cells to the outside of fast rotating cone shaped discs. At first, these machines were hand operated. Later, they were driven by electric motors.

Many of the churns on display would be used in farmhouse butter production. These vary in shape. The narrow necked bucket shaped churns with hand held plungers are the earliest type. These were followed by small round wooden churns with paddles inside. Then came glass jars with vertical paddles operated by turning a handle attached to gears fitted on top of the lid. The larger, rocking style churns were capable of holding more cream and usually required two operators. These in turn, were superceded by the barrel shaped churn mounted on a frame and turned by a handle on the side. This was a more efficient method as the shape meant that the cream was knocked against all parts of the churn and the fat separated more quickly and evenly.

In farmhouses, the butter would be worked using hand held paddles to remove excess liquid and mix in salt to help preserve it and enhance the flavour. Some farms would use long, shallow, wooden bowls and wooden rollers yo deal with larger volumes of butter. In the creamery, specially designed tables fitted with large rollers were used to work out moisture and add salt.

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Many farms had wooden butter forms to make blocks of butter. Often these would be etched with a cow or flowers and would be unique to the producer. Creameries sometimes stamped their butter and packed it in wooden boxes with waxed paper separating blocks. Later, they moved to printed grease-proof paper.

These and many other artefacts covering the history of Darling are available for viewing 7 days a week at Darling Museum. Opening hours.

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