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As Julia Child once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” Read on, as we explore the beloved yellow spread.

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Butter is a dairy product made from milk or cream. When cream is churned, it causes its solids (butterfat) and liquids (buttermilk) to separate, and results in the delicious ingredient we all know and love. Whether salted or unsalted, the flavor of good butter is impossible to replicate, and can easily be made at home. In order to be sold commercially, butter must be at least 80% fat! The remaining percentage consists of water and milk proteins.

SALTED VS UNSALTED

Ever wonder whether to use unsalted or salted butter? You’re not alone. Unsalted butter has a neutral, creamy flavor and is most commonly called for as a base in baking recipes. When it comes to baked goods, precise measurements are crucial for achieving the right flavor and texture. This extends to even the smallest amounts of ingredients like salt. Each brand of salt has a slightly different level of salt, therefore it is much more consistent to bake with unsalted butter, then add the particular measurement of salt that the recipe calls for. In general, if your baking recipe doesn’t specify, it’s safe to assume you should opt for unsalted butter.

Unsalted butter has a neutral, creamy flavor and is most commonly called for as a base in baking recipes.

EUROPEAN BUTTER

European butter is churned longer than North American butter. As a result, it contains between 82 and 85 percent butterfat. It has a richer taste with a soft texture and is significantly more yellow in color, compared to American butters. When it comes to salted butter, the European Union regulations call for between 80 and 90 percent butterfat and between 82 and 90 percent in unsalted butter. Make no mistake, butter is serious business and classified differently in different parts of the world. When using a pat of butter to finish off a dish, for example, risotto or a baked potato, use European butter to really show off its flavor. Similarly, use it when you're spreading it directly onto something, like toast or a sweet loaf.

CLARIFIED BUTTER

Clarified butter, or drawn butter, refers to the rendering of butter to remove the water and strain out the solids. This is usually done using a cheesecloth and once this happens, only pure butterfat remains. resulting in a richer fat. It is also more shelf-stable, since milk solids can cause butter to spoil or become rancid. Clarified butter is decadent, with a nutty aroma – a departure from the heaviness of the original product.

Cooking with clarified butter has many benefits, especially when frying.

Cooking with clarified butter has many benefits, especially when frying. Milk solids are what cause butter to smoke and burn in cooking, so by eliminating them, you are able to cook with butter at a much higher temperature and for a longer amount of time. Compared to animal fats and many other types of oils, clarified butter has a clean, subtle flavor and is especially useful for frying vegetables. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that originated in India and is often served with rice and Indian bread in parts of the country.