Observations and results
Did it take a much longer amount of time to make butter using the chilled heavy whipping cream compared with using the room-temperature heavy whipping cream? Aside from this difference, did both butters seem similar?
As you shook each jar, you should have seen and heard the cream initially slosh around, and then gradually the sloshing slowed as the cream thickened. Eventually, after several seconds (but less than two minutes), it should have become so thick that it didn't move much as you shook the jar. At this point the cream had likely turned into whipped cream. After you shook the jar for about five to 20 minutes total, the cream should have abruptly turned into butter. This likely happened much quicker for the room-temperature cream than for the colder cream. (For example, the room-temperature cream may have become butter after five to six minutes, whereas the refrigerated cream took 13 to 15 minutes of shaking.) As the cream is shaken, the fat molecules get out of position and clump together, eventually clumping so much that butter forms. At this point the fat molecules have clearly separated from the liquid in the cream. When molecules are heated, they move faster because they have more energy. Consequently, the molecules in the room-temperature cream moved faster than the ones in the chilled cream, allowing the room-temperature fat molecules to clump together faster, thereby forming butter faster.
You may enjoy some delicious, homemade butter. Be sure to keep it refrigerated and consume it before it becomes rancid.
More to explore
How do you make butter?, from WebExhibits—Butter through the Ages
Making Butter, from Michael Chu at Cooking for Engineers
Rate of Reaction, from Rader's Chem4Kids.com
Shaking for Butter, from Science Buddies
This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies