Have you ever wondered if you could make your butter yourself? Well, you can. Let us talk about butter first. I think you will love to hear all about this wonder ingredient.
This article will talk about butter, its nutritional composition, uses, types of butter, and how to make it with a food processor.
What Is Butter?
It is simply an emulsion formed when water is dispersed in fat. Milk or cream is made of tiny bubbles of fat suspending in it. These tiny fat globules are surrounded by protein membranes which prevent them from sticking together.
When milk or cream becomes agitated, the protein-membrane becomes broken and the fat bubbles begin to stick together. If this agitation continues, solid butter forms and can be separated from the liquid.
Butter is the most concentrated form of milk. 500g of butter can only be produced by at least 10 liters of liquid milk.
When butter is separated from milk, what is left is skim milk. It was once discarded as waste or used as animal feed but is fast becoming the most useful part of milk these days.
Difference Between Butter and Margarine?
It might be a bit difficult to tell the difference between butter and margarine. They are quite similar in texture, color, and even their usage.
Despite all these similarities, butter is totally different from margarine due to its sources and composition.
Butter is produced from dairy, could be milk or cream. When liquid milk is churned or thoroughly agitated, the butter separates from the milk forming a light-yellow substance on the surface of the buttermilk.
Butter is not purely fat. It also contains some milk solids and water. Some butter is regarded as light butter since it contains more water and fewer calories than regular butter.
Margarine, on the other hand, is produced from oil. It is produced from vegetable oil and water. The flavor is also added to make its taste similar to that of butter. Although margarine is made from vegetable oil, it might contain traces of milk.
Margarine can also be made with more quantity of water to make it softer. This soft margarine is usually sold as bread spreads.
How to Make Butter in A Food Processor
The production of butter using a food processor require little or no effort from you. All you need to do is to buy a quality food processor and a high-quality milk cream.
It is best to use unpasteurized cream if you want your butter to have a flavor like the cultured butter. The following actions are to be taken when making butter at home with a food processor:
Pour the Cream into The Food Processor
The quantity of cream you pour into your food processor depends on the size of its bowl. It is recommended to pour enough cream to cover the blades but not a quantity that will cross the halfway mark.
Blend the Cream
Put on the food processor and turn it to moderate speed. The cream will get whipped. Continue to blend the cream for about 8 minutes and the butter solids will start to separate. These butter solids will begin to form lumps.
Remove the Buttermilk
After blending the cream for a while, liquids will start to separate from the butter solids. This is known as buttermilk. This liquid has a high protein content.
Pour out this buttermilk and store it for use in the making of cornbread, biscuits, and even smoothies.
Rinse the Buttermilk
Pour chilly water into the food processor. Do not turn it on. Rather, swirl it around so that the remaining buttermilk is rinsed off by the chilly water.
Keep rinsing and pouring away the water until the rinse water poured in becomes clear. This is a very vital step because the presence of proteins in the butter will make it spoil very quickly.
Add Salt and Flavor
You can choose to add only salt or nothing at all. You can also choose to add spices like garlic, cinnamon, and other aromatic herbs. You can also add citrus zest or sugar, depending on your choice.
When the flavor and other ingredients are added, you need to pulse the food processor so that it can mix properly. Be careful not to go overboard and create a butter that has lost its original buttery flavor.
Strain the Butter
Put the prepared butter into a cheesecloth and squeeze to get rid of any liquid remaining in it. This will also help in the overall texture of the butter and its shelf life too. If you do not want to use the butter immediately, pour it out on a waterproof wrapping paper, and mold it into a log.
Roll the paper around the butter log and seal the ends. Chill in a refrigerator till the butter becomes firm. Store in a fridge and use within 5 days or store it in a freezer for a long time using a sealable freezer bag.
How to Make Butter Without A Food Processor
In this method, the churning of milk is done manually. It requires more effort from you more than making butter using a food processor.
Pour the cream into a jar until it is half full. Cover the jar with its lid and shake it vigorously. Continue shaking the cream till it becomes whipped.
When the buttermilk begins to separate from the butterfat, stop shaking and pour out the gathered buttermilk. At this stage, the butter can be used, or you can go further to rinse off the buttermilk if you intend to store it for further use.
Rinse the butter by pouring chilly water into the jar and swirling it round to wash off the buttermilk. Pour out the water and repeat till the water added becomes clear.
Pour the butter into a cheesecloth, twist, and squeeze to get rid of the excess water. Store in a refrigerator and use within a week.
Composition of Butter
Butter produced commercially contains about 82% of milk fat and 2% of milk proteins. It might also contain 2% of salt added during production. Unsalted butter (also known as sweet butter) and sweet cream butter do not contain salt.
Light butter (also known as reduced-fat butter) contains about 40% of fat and above 30% of water.
Butter contains a high amount of protein and vitamins A, D, and E which are all fat-soluble vitamins. It also contains vitamin B12 and minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
There are a lot of compounds that are present in butter which gives it its characteristic flavor. Some of these compounds are fatty acids, methyl ketones, lactones, dimethyl sulfide, and diacetyl sulfide.
Butter also contains other organic acids like oleic, palmitic, stearic, and myristic acids. The type and quantity of fatty acid contained in butter depends on the diet of the cow that produced the milk.
The type of food taken by milk-producing cows has a significant effect on the nutritional quality of the butter produced.
Grass-fed cows which are cows that feed on fresh grass produce butter of higher nutritional quality than cows that are grain-fed.
The presence of fresh grass in the cow’s diet increases the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and other healthy fats.
Additionally, the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in grass-fed butter are relatively higher.
Types of Fat Present in Butter
Butter is mostly 80% fat, the rest being water. Butter is the fatty portion of milk and contains over 350 diverse types of fatty acids.
It contains about 70% of saturated fatty acids and about 25% of monounsaturated fatty acids. It also contains about 2% of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other fat-like substances found in butter are phospholipids and cholesterol.
Of the 70% of saturated fats contained in butter, about 10% are short-chained fatty acids (SCFAs). One of the most common short-chain fatty acids present in butter is butanoic acid.
Butanoic acid is found in a reasonable quantity in the milk of ruminants like goats, cows, and sheep. It is used in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and inflammation of the gut.
Crohn’s disease is a disease that can affect any part of the digestive system and cause severe inflammation. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and loss of weight.
Butter also contains trans fats and it is the highest source of dairy trans-fat. Unlike the trans fats present in most processed foods, the trans-fat found in butter and other dairy products are regarded as healthy trans-fat.
The most common trans-fat found in butter is conjugated linoleic acid (also known as 9,11-octadecadienoic acid) and cis-11-octadecanoic acid.
Conjugated linoleic acid is believed to have many health benefits and may offer protection against some types of cancerous tumors.
Conjugated linoleic acid is also sold as a supplement for weight loss but there are not enough findings to fully support this claim.
Nutritional Facts of Butter
Butter is a food packed with calories. 100g of salted butter contains the following:
- Calorie – 717
- Total fat – 81g
- Total carbohydrate – 0.1g
- Cholesterol – 215mg
- Protein – 0.9g
- Sodium – 643mg
- Calcium – 24mg
- Potassium – 24mg
- Iron – 0.02mg
Types of Butter
We have all used butter in one way or another. Some people might not know that there are different types of butter and not just the regular white and yellow butter we know. The type of butter produced depends on a number of factors. Types of butter are:
Regular Salted Butter
This is an all-purpose and the most used butter. It is available everywhere commercially. This type of butter contains some salt in it which enhances its flavor and also preserves it.
Salted butter is usually manufactured in factories, packaged, and sent to distant places. The salt contained in this type of butter enables it to be taken over long distances without spoilage occurring.
This type of butter is the same as the regular salted butter. The only difference is that there is no salt added in it while it is being produced.
Due to this, it does not last long as the salted butter. It is commonly used in baking.
This is the type of butter produced with cream that contains living bacteria and has a mildly acidic taste. Due to the acidic nature of this butter, it lasts longer than regular butter.
Butter made from yogurt cream is also regarded as cultured butter. It is used in recipes that require a tangy taste in it.
European butter is produced when cultured butter is churned for a longer time to obtain about 80% of butterfat. This type of butter is pure yellow in color due to its very high-fat content.
Originally, butter is cultured by allowing the butter to ferment for some time until the taste becomes sour. Nowadays, cultures are added to aid in the fermentation and give it the sour taste.
This is a type of butter made from milk from grass-fed cattle. It contains more nutrients than milk from grain-fed cows.
Grass-fed butter contains about 400 types of fatty acids and contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin K. This type of butter is useful in the prevention of cancer, bone loss, and the building of muscle tissues.
This is also known as ghee and is the most popular butter in India. It is produced by boiling butter obtained from skimming milk. The time is taken in the preparation of this butter and the quality of the milk used determines the texture and color of this butter.
The water content of clarified butter is quite low, and it has up to 98% of fat, about 60% of the fat is saturated.
This is produced when high-quality milk cream is churned using a food processor. Originally, milk is churned manually to obtain butter, but it is done these days using a food processor or a mixer.
It can be made at home since it does not require a lot of equipment and processes in its production. It is the tastiest type of butter and can be seasoned with salt for a more robust taste.
This is the softest type of butter. It is usually made with grass-fed milk with very high-fat content. The process of producing Irish butter is different from the production process of regular butter.
The churning of the milk during the production of this type of butter is done gently and slowly. Therefore, it is softer than other types of butter and used mainly as spreads.
Goat and Sheep Butter
This is known as the first type of butter produced before cow milk became more popular. This is because they were domesticated first before cows and their milk was used to make butter then.
The butter made from goat and sheep milk is white in color and possesses the characteristic aroma of goat or sheep milk.
This is the viscous cream obtained when full cream milk is boiled and allowed to cool naturally. This clotted cream rises to the top of the milk and can be skimmed off. It is mainly used in creaming tea.
This is also known as beurre noisette and it is produced by heating up the butter until the water present in it evaporates and the milk solids in the butter turn brown.
It is different from the conventional butter and has a burnt and nutty taste
Uses of Butter
Add Flavor to Baked Foods
The most prominent use of butter in baking is to add flavor to the baked product. Although there are butter-flavored ingredients and even butter-flavored shortenings, it can never create a distinct flavor and product texture quite like the real butter.
Make Baked Products Tender
Fat, also known as shortening, are used to make baked products tender. The fat molecules help in shortening the gluten strands present in fat. This makes the resultant product to be less chewy and exceptionally soft.
The texture of lean (zero fat) bread like baguette is tougher compared to a buttered bread like brioche bread, which is quite tender. Baked products that do not contain fat have crusty surfaces and are chewy inside.
Leavens the Baked Product
When considering factors in baking that could help a dough or batter to rise, butter does not easily come to mind.
Actually, butter plays a vital role in the leavening of baked products. Butter is not 100% fat. It contains some water too. When it is heated, the water evaporates and turns into steam. This steam gets trapped in the dough and helps it to rise.
An example of a baked product that is leavened with butter is puff pastry. It is produced by laminating butter into layers of pastry dough.
When the puff pastry is baked, it rises fantastically due to the butter present in its layers.
When semi-hard cheese is cut, after some time, the edges become hard and begin to support mold growth. When the edge of cheese is coated with a thin film of butter before rewrapping, it keeps the edges fresh and mold-free.
Remove Sticky Tree Sap from The Skin
If the sticky tree sap you came in contact with is proving difficult to remove, rub some butter on it. Massage a little, then wash it off with soap and water.
Make Cutting of Sticky Foods Easier
Some foods are too sticky and might be difficult to be cut or chopped. Example of such foods is dates, marshmallows, and figs.
When butter is rubbed on the blade of the knife or the scissors used in cutting these sticky foods, they can easily be chopped. The butter will lubricate the blades and prevent the sticking of those foods on it.
Prevent Food from Boiling Over
While boiling rice or pasta, it tends to get too bubbly and spills out water from the pot. To keep the water from boiling over while cooking, add a teaspoon of butter in it.
Alternatively, you can rub butter around the pot, and it will achieve the same purpose.
Preserve Semi-Used Onions
If you cut an onion and keep the rest for use later, it gets dry and shriveled and can sometimes become unfit for use.
Spreading butter over the cut surface of onion and wrapping it in a foil can preserve the onion and keep it fresh until the next time you want to use it.
Moisturize the Hands
If your skin is dry and the skin on your hand becomes rough, use butter to combat it. Butter is made up of fats and proteins that can function as a moisturizer.
Simply rub butter on the rough areas of your skin and rub it in just as you would have done with a regular moisturizer.
Used to Swallow Pills
If it is becoming increasingly difficult for you to swallow pills, rub them on butter first and watch them slide down your throat with ease. It might be because of their size or that they stick to your throat while you are trying to swallow them.
Butter will reduce the friction on the surface of the pills and help them move swiftly down your throat.
Stop Doors from Squeaking
If the door is squeaky due to the weather or its age, use butter to reduce its squeakiness. Rub butter on the door hinge to lubricate it.
Remove Gum from Hair
You must have heard that peanut butter can help to remove gum from hair, but butter also does. Let us not go into how gum can find its way into our hair.
Apply butter over the affected area of your hair and allow it to stay for some time. When the butter is properly absorbed by the gum, scrape out the gum using your fingers or a small-sized foam.
Remove Rings Stuck in the Finger
If your finger got swollen and your ring is stuck to your finger, you can use butter to bring it out. Apply some butter on the finger and allow it to stay for some minutes.
Then roll it around and try to pull it out. Be careful and also apply more butter if need be.
Moisturize Your Hair
Butter can be used to add gloss to dry and brittle hair. Apply some butter and massage it into the hair properly.
Cover your hair with a shower cap and stay for 30 minutes. Then wash with a shampoo and rinse.
Cream Your Coffee
Butter can be used to cream coffee instead of milk or cream. This is usually used by people on a keto diet or people who are on a high-fat, low-carb diet.
Using butter to cream your coffee can keep you fuller for longer since it takes longer to digest fat than other nutrients.
Get Rid of Fishy Odor from Hands
The odor of fish on the hands can be quite disturbing most of the time. You can get rid of this fishy smell with the use of butter.
Rub some butter on your hands and wash with soap and warm water.
Soothe Feet Ache
Massage the affected areas with butter. Wrap a wet hot towel around the feet and wait for 15 minutes.
Get Rid of Ink Stains on Plastic
Using soap and water to remove ink stains from plastics is an uphill task. It is much easier to use butter.
Rub butter over the stains and allow it to stay for about 40 minutes. Wipe the butter off and the ink stains should be gone.
Condition Brittle Nails
Nails can get dry and become brittle due to exposure to harsh weather, some chemicals, or ill-health. Try using butter to get your nails to their former healthy state using butter.
Before going to bed, rub butter on the nail cuticles and wear a cotton glove. Try it every night until visible results show.
Adverse Effects of Butter Consumption
When consumed in large amounts over a period, butter can have unfavorable health effects. Some of them are:
Heart and Vascular Diseases
Saturated fats have been known to be a cause of most incidences of heart diseases. When taken in large amounts, saturated fats can cause the blood level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) to rise.
Low-density lipoprotein is a molecule that is made up of fat (lipid) and protein. Fats bond to proteins to form this molecule which is the form in which they are transported in the blood.
Low-density lipoproteins are the molecules that usually transport a fat-like substance known as cholesterol around the body.
Although many studies have not been able to link LDL to heart diseases, it is believed that fat deposits on the blood vessels could lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Some people develop allergies after consuming dairy or dairy products. Milk allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system of the body to milk and products derived from milk.
Milk allergy is regarded as the most common cause of food allergy in children and can happen when milk from cow, goats, sheep, or buffalo is consumed.
Allergy symptoms occur differently from person to person and include all or some of the following:
- Swollen lips and mouth
- Difficulty in breathing
- Vomiting and nausea
- Facial flushing
Allergies are a result of the malfunction of the immune system. The immune system recognizes some of the components of milk as harmful and then produce some antibodies to neutralize them.
The production and the action of these antibodies and other chemicals bring about the symptoms felt.
The 2 main proteins present in milk that cause allergy reactions are the whey protein and casein. Whey protein is the liquid part of milk while casein is the solid part of milk that curdles. Some are allergic to each of them while some others are allergic to both.
This is a disorder that occurs when the body is unable to digest lactose, the sugar present in milk. Lactose is a disaccharide which means it is made up of two simple sugars, glucose, and galactose.
An enzyme called lactase is produced by the body to digest lactose. This enzyme digests lactose and breaks it down into glucose and galactose which is then metabolized into energy.
When the body does not produce enough lactase, lactose intolerance occurs and the lactose moves through the digestive system without being broken down for use.
This causes some digestive symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation. Due to the inability of the body to digest lactose, it is fermented by the gut bacteria to produce gas.