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All about Butter

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All about Butter

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All about Butter

Smooth, creamy and ranging from nearly white to deep yellow, butter is a versatile condiment and ingredient that most cooks and bakers love to keep on hand.

Butter is a solid dairy product used widely in cooking and baking, and it is made by churning (agitating) the fresh or fermented cream from milk. The churning causes cream causes fat globules to stick together, and so the butterfat is separated from the thin, liquid buttermilk. In the US, commercial butter must be at least 80% fat, while the rest is made up of water, milk solids and salt. Salt, flavourings and preservatives are sometimes added to butter. While most frequently made from cows' milk, butter can also be manufactured from the milk of other mammals such as sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. Apart from cooking and baking needs, butter is also often used as a spread on plain or toasted bread products. Here are some commonly seen butter in the market.

Salted butter

Salted butter is of course, butter with the addition of salt. Up till the 1970s, salt was was added to butter as a form of preservative, and unsalted butter was rare. These days though, unsalted butter seems to be a more popular option amongst consumers. Nonetheless, salted butter is a delicious choice to go for when buttering bread. Take caution when using salted butter when cooking or baking, as a number of recipes call for the use of unsalted butter. If you're stuck with salted butter when encountering such recipes, you may adjust the recipe accordingly to allow for salted butter. For example, halve or leave out the additional salt completely.

Unsalted butter

From cooking to baking, this versatile butter has it all covered. Unsalted butter is usually labelled as such because it contains no salt. Sometimes, it may be erroneously referred to as 'sweet' butter', and this is confusing as any butter made with sweet instead of sour cream is considered sweet butter. Hence, packaged labelled as 'sweet cream butter' is likely to contain salted butter. Unsalted butter is made from only milk or cream (or both), and has at least 80 percent milk fat. As it contains no salt (which acts as a preservative), it is more perishable than salted butter and therefore can be found in the freezer section of some markets. If you'd like a precise of control of how much salt you want (or don't) in your recipe, unsalted butter is a good choice.

Whipped butter

Whipped butter is a lot fluffier than standard butter, as it has air or some other gas, such as nitrogen, beaten to it to make it less dense. This result in lesser fat and calorie content compared to the same volume (e.g. one tablespoon) of standard butter, making it perfect for those on a diet. Whipped butter is not recommended for cooking and baking. Its soft and light texture however, makes it good for spreading on toast and finishing dishes.

Light butter

There's always something out there for the health conscious individual. Comprising water and other possible additions such as skim milk, gelatin, lactic acid, and other fillers, light butter has about half the fat of regular butter. Because of the added water, light butter is best used cold as a spread on bread or crackers. It is not suited for cooking or for melting on hot foods such as toast or popcorn, and should not be substituted for regular butter or margarine in frying and baking.

Organic butter

Organic butter comes from cattle that are raised 'organically', meaning they are not fed with antibiotics and growth hormones. Because of reduced exposure to pesticides, herbicides and other toxins on the feed, organic dairy is thought to be less contaminated than conventional dairy. To ensure that organic butter is wholly authentic, the feed of the cattle is also grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Both salted and unsalted versions are available, and it can be used just like conventional butter.

Ghee

Made by first simmering butter then removing the liquid residue, ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in ancient India. Today, it remains widely used in Indian and South Asian cuisines. It is composed almost entirely of fat, and its flavour can be described as buttery with the milkiness. Ghee is an ideal fat for deep frying because its smoke point (where its molecules begin to break down) is at 250C, above that of most vegetable oils. The usual cooking temperature is typically around 200C. Apart from cooking, ghee can be used as a substitute for fresh butter baking cakes and pastries

Spreadable butter

Spreadable butter is essentially a blend of regular butter and oil. Sometimes, flavourings and fillers may be used. It usually contain less fat than regular butter, as water is whipped in too. The best part of about spreadable butter is that it maintains a soft texture even when cold, so you can simply take it out of the fridge and spread it on your toast immediately. The added oil makes the butter easier to spread. It's possible to make spreadable butter on your own, and there are a number of surprisingly easy recipes on the web. Spreadable butter is not recommended for baking or cooking.

European-style butter

Though pricier than other butters, European-style butter is lauded for its irresistibly delicious flavour and rich, creamy texture. It is loaded with extra milk fat, and contains 83-86% fat content compared to non-cultured butters, which fat content hover around 81%. As it is made with fermented (also known as 'cultured') cream, it has a slight tang. European-style butter often has a deep yellow color and can be crumbly and dense. It supposedly makes extra-flaky pastries and tender, fluffy cakes as it has less moisture than stand butter, but can be used for all cooking tasks too.

Learn how to make Beurre Noisette (Brown Butter) Chicken Floss Loaf .

All butter featured are available at FairPrice Finest Outlets.

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