If there is one ingredient in baking and cooking that gives a world of flavor and texture to the food, it is butter. Butter is an ingredient that is used to bind ingredients together in baking as well as provide flavor and texture to food. When chilled, butter is pretty solid but when exposed to room temperatures, it softens enough for easy use. When exposed to heat, butter melts and becomes a liquid that has a lot of flavor and can be used to fry foods, giving them a golden and crisp exterior.
How Butter is Made
Butter is a dairy product manufactured from cow’s milk. It is produced by churning milk until it develops a creamy and buttery consistency. The main ingredient in butter is milk-fat, which is said to give this yellow spread its creamy texture. The process used to create butter uses either fresh or fermented cream. This results in the separation of the buttermilk from the butterfat, with the latter being used to create what is known as butter.
While butter is usually made using milk from cows however any milk from mammals, like goats, sheep, and even buffalo, can be used to make butter. Butter can be served as is, without any flavorings, but a lot of popular butter brands have salted versions. There are also butters that come with flavorings, like garlic butter and others with herbs in them.
Butter has to be refrigerated to help keep it from going rancid and to keep it solid. Exposing butter to room temperatures will soften it and any exposure to heats above 90 degrees Fahrenheit will melt it into a thin liquid-like consistency. When you leave butter out for long periods of time in room temperature, it will go rancid. This can still be used if the milk used to make the butter is pasteurized since this will mean that the butter has no bacteria in them and no bacteria will survive in them.
Nutritional Information on Butter
Since butter is made mostly out of butterfat, it has this stigma of being unhealthy for you. What people may not realize is that when used in moderation, butter is actually good for the body since it is made using natural ingredients and not synthetic ones. Every tablespoon of butter comes with 100 calories, which will make you feel satisfied with what you eat and actually has the same amount of calories as a medium banana.
Other nutritional information you might want to get on butter include the following:
Water content – 16% per tablespoon
Protein – .12 grams per tablespoon
Carbs – .01 grams per tablespoon
Sugar – .01 grams per tablespoon
Fiber – 0 grams
Fat – 11.52 grams per tablespoon
As you can see, butter has almost no carbs and sugar in it, and is mostly water and fat. This is why some diets that are low carb and high in fat use butter in their regimens. The composition of the fat in butter includes 7.29 grams of saturated fat, 2.99 grams of monounsaturated fat, .43 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and .47 grams of transfat.
Butter also has quite a long list of nutrients in it, making it rather healthy despite the fat content. The nutrients you will find in butter include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and vitamin K2. As healthy as butter may seem, this is seldom eaten in huge doses, which is why these vitamins don’t contribute much to a person’s daily intake.
If you were to choose between grass-fed butter and grain-fed butter, you are better off with the former since it has more nutrients than the latter. It is also considered more organic and more natural since it is made from cows that graze and feed on grass rather than those that are in barns and fed processed feed. When butter is made from grass-fed cows, these have shown to have more omega-3 fatty acids.
People who are lactose intolerant and are trying to avoid dairy however need to avoid butter since this is made using dairy. There are some substitutes that you can use in its place, like margarine and other naturally oily substitutes like avocados, but these don’t have the same flavor or texture of butter.