Butter is an ancient food made by separating the cream from the milk and then churning the cream until it thickens. People often use oil, margarine, or even fruit puree in baked goods, but there is nothing quite like butter’s flavor.
- In the U.S., most butter in the store is either salted or unsalted. Salt preserves butter’s freshness and adds flavor; sometimes, unsalted butter is a better choice.
- European butter contains more fat and has a richer flavor. It’s denser so it takes longer to melt in the oven. It makes very flaky pies and pastries.
- Cultured, or Danish, butter has been cultured like yogurt or buttermilk. It has a tangy flavor.
- Clarified butter has been slowly cooked to remove most of the liquid. It doesn’t burn as quickly as regular butter.
- A cow’s diet determines the color of the butter. Cows that graze on grass produce butter that is a deeper yellow than cows that are fed grain.
- Butter is high in fat. Don’t overdo it.
Questions and Answers
Question: Have people always loved butter?
Answer: Yes! Ancient Norsemen loved butter so much that they were buried with it, and butter was a traditional English wedding gift – a symbol of prosperity. The Romans and Greeks valued butter not only for its delicate flavor but for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. They used it as a hair conditioner and a treatment for burns and skin wounds.
Make homemade butter with Martha Stewart.
Visit a French butter factory.