January 26th, 2010 | george | Comments Off on The Joy of Butter
“We cannot live by bread alone; we must have butter.”
I tend to agree. As far as my taste buds are concerned, there is nothing better than a giant organic baked potato with a slice of butter melting and oozing into the depths of the potato. I believe Julia Child got it right when she said, “you can never use too much butter in French cooking.” With that said, let’s take a closer look at this wonderfully sinful dairy product.
Butter is really a by-product of milk production, and is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. In addition to butter made from cow’s milk, you can also find butter made from the milk of sheep, goats, and buffalo. Depending on your preference, both salted and unsalted butter are widely available. In addition to regular milk-churned butter, there are other variations of interest.
Cultured Butter– Butter made from fermented cream is known and sold as cultured butter. As cream sours, bacteria converts the milk sugars into lactic acid. Many purists would insist that cultured butter offers a more full-flavored and buttery experience than regular butter.
Clarified Butter– Clarified butter is processed by removing almost all of the water and milk solids. Butter is heated to a melting point resulting in a separation of water, milk solids, and butterfat. The butterfat is poured off and used as clarified butter. This product is typically used in cooking and baking.
Ghee– Ghee is really clarified butter that is allowed to cook at a higher temperature. This gives ghee its distinguished rich brown color. The increased antioxidants in ghee guard against rancidity, and give it a longer shelf life (usually 6-8 months).
European Butter– European butter normally has a higher butterfat content than regular butter. U.S. regulations require a minimum of 80% butterfat content. Most butters produced in the United States are made with 80-81% butterfat. European butters typically have around an 85% butterfat content.
At Albert’s, we offer a variety of butters from local/regional dairies, as well as national brands. While most of our butters are certified organic, our natural butter offerings are rbst/rbgh free. Used in moderation (not necessarily my specialty), butter provides a rich accompaniment to a wide variety of foods. Bon appétit!