If you want to produce your own flavourful, creamy "high-priced spread" from fresh cream, you can do it— quickly, easily. Here's how to make butter:
330 ml whipping cream
¾ cup icing cold water
Pour the cream into a jar, cap the container tightly, and let it sit on the kitchen drain board for approximately 12 hours (or until the cream is about 75 degrees F and smells slightly sour). This is called ripening or culturing, which is enveloping the acid content of the cream. (Only cultured cream will produce butter with a good "butter flavour".) Experience will teach you when your cream smells too sour or too ripe, and when it's just perfect. I usually set the cream on the drain board after breakfast and make butter after supper the same day.
Whip cream with mixer in a deep mixing bowl to make whipped cream. Just before you get butter, you'll notice that the churned cream is becoming "heavy". Add cold water and keep whipping. Then you'll begin to see a definite separation between the buttermilk and a heavy mass of butter. In first small pearls or bits of butter which become bigger.
Strain the butter from the buttermilk with the aid of a colander or other straining device. (And save that delicious buttermilk!) Then, while the solids are still in the colander, rinse them thoroughly with cold water. (Warm water will make the butter soft ... the warmer, the softer.) Your butter should now be crumbly, rather than a firm, solid mass.
Next, put the cultured butter in a bowl.
With clean hands, work the butter around the sides of the bowl and tip it to one side to let the water run out.
After you've "worked" the water out of the butter, and the mass has become fairly firm, sprinkle some salt over it (I use about a half teaspoon of salt per half pound of butter). Work the salt in, turn the butter over, and work it in some more. Taste the butter, and if necessary, add more salt.
All that's left now is to put your lusciously creamy homemade spread into a covered container, place the buttermilk in a capped jar or bottle, and store both containers in the refrigerator until needed. (Note: If I know we'll be using our butter within an hour or two, I'll leave it on the drainboard to keep it soft and spreadable.)