You know what they say, everything is better with butter. These bars are a versatile ingredient used in cooking and baking, especially if you want to add a little oomph of flavor in your dish. Spread it plainly on hot pan de sal or as use it as a finishing touch for an extra kick in your meat dishes. Whatever your preferred use, we can all agree this is a staple in our fridge.
Nowadays, there are a multitude of butter options in the market, even margarine stepped up its game that it can get quite confusing. Is it all exactly the same? We've put together a guide to help you distinguish them so your trip to the dairy aisle will be a breeze. If you're still undecided, you can narrow your butter choices with our recommended products.
Butter is a natural dairy product from churning fresh cream or milk. During the churning process, the butterfat or solids separate from the buttermilk or the liquid. The butterfat is then what becomes of butter after it is molded. Its natural color ranges from pale yellow to an off white.
Depending on its production process, the cream or milk can either be sent on its way to be churned or pasteurized to prolong its shelf life.
Margarine is designed as a substitute for butter. It does not contain any animal products and usually contains vegetable oils such as palm, canola, or soybean. It is then hydrogenated, which is the process of solidifying the liquid oil into solid, usually with preservatives and emulsifiers. It uses food coloring as the oils are colorless.
Butter has often been criticized for being inherently bad for you because of its high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol due to it being an animal product. However, as with everything, moderation is key, so if you only consume a few servings, you should be fine.
The preference for one over the other also depends on your dietary requirements. If you do not consume animal products, you could stick to margarine.
In baking, margarine makes your baked goods softer because of its water content. However, it is better to use butter in cookies and frostings where the flavor is a key element and the additional water content could do more harm than good.
We're pretty sure you already have a go-to butter in mind. And this may seem like a no brainer but you'd be surprised that butter comes in multiple varieties. Also, are you sure that your 'butter' is really butter?
In grocery stores, sometimes butter and margarine are similarly packaged that it makes it difficult to distinguish one from the other. However, you can easily identify which is which.
When picking out butter, check the ingredients list. We already know that real butter uses only butterfat, which comes from milk or cream as its ingredients. If it uses hydrogenated vegetable or plant oils, then it is a margarine or butter compound, which uses 50% butterfat and 50% vegetable oil.
The color should also tell you if it is butter or margarine. Butter has a natural pale yellow or sometimes off white color depending on the variety. Sometimes grass-fed can lean more yellowish. Margarine is usually a rather vibrant yellow color. This is because plant oils are colorless, so it makes use of food coloring to mimic butter.
Another easy distinction is that butters are often wrapped in foil packages while margarine is in paper. This makes it easier to spot especially if butter, butter compounds, and margarine are all lumped together in the dairy section.
This can also come in handy if the product does not specify what it is made out of and you cannot see its ingredients list.
In choosing butter you also have to take into account what you are going to use it for. This may not seem like it matters much but some varieties are better suited for specific purposes than others. Are you putting it as an ingredient? Are you using it as just a spread for bread?
Like what its name says, unsalted butter or sometimes called sweet butter does not have added salt during its production process. This makes it fresher but it also makes it easier to spoil. The presence of salt acts as a preservative so it will have a shorter shelf life. At most, it will last you about a month in your fridge.
In terms of versatility, unsalted undoubtedly takes the cake. This will take you through most cooking recipes from baking to sautéing with no problem. This is because the salt content in salted butter varies across different brands, so it will definitely impact your food’s taste.
Having unsalted butter gives you free reign to season your dish to your heart’s content without having to worry about the salt level. Most recipes call for unsalted butter as well.
Salted butter adds salt in the production process. The salt acts as a preservative and extends the butter’s shelf life. However, the amount of salt content varies between brands with about ¼ teaspoon per 1 stick of butter that is why this butter is not advisable for baking.
The good thing is that the salt also enhances the butter’s flavor. This makes it a great spread for breads and muffins and other cooked dishes. It is handy if you want to easily achieve a malinamnam taste to your food items.
Clarified butter is the process of removing water and milk solids by boiling it off. This leaves you with a clear amber-colored liquid called butterfat. It is also the reason why it has less lactose content than regular butter, which makes it an excellent butter substitute for those with lactose intolerance.
This makes it have a more stable shelf life than regular butter. It also gives it a higher smoke point, making it ideal for searing meat and vegetables as well as a finishing butter. Ghee, which is widely used in Indian cuisine is a notable type of clarified butter.
Organic butter comes from cows, which are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. To qualify for organic, cows must graze on feed without pesticides or fertilizers.
Grass-fed butter makes use of cows that feed on grass instead of corn or soy-based feeds. This results in a higher nutrient profile and a richer taste. Grass-fed butters could also be organic. If you prefer your butter to have that distinct and strong butter taste, you could go for grass-fed ones.
If you're feeling adventurous, then we suggest you give flavored butters a try. These are also known as butter compounds and they involve ingredients added to butter such as garlic, herbs, and spices.
You might come across a savory herb or garlic flavoured butter and use it to coat roast chicken or beef. Perhaps you prefer a sweeter one such as maple or honey for delectable toasted bread or muffins.
Butters can come wrapped in foil, tin cans, or even tubs. Each has its own advantage over storage and ease of use.
Foil wrapped butter is probably the most common packaging for butter. This is versatile as you could use it in cooking and baking. It is also easier to portion considering you could easily slice through the packaging.
This also makes it easier to distinguish between margarine as the latter is wrapped in paper packaging.
If you need larger portions of butter, you could go for the ones in tins as it sold in bigger quantities. Canned butter has a longer shelf life especially if it remains unopened and it can be stored at room temperature unlike regular butter, which needs to be refrigerated.
Usually butter in tubs have a spreadable version, however it is often combined with vegetable oil or water to make it easier to spread. Some even have a light or whipped version. These are lower in calories but it is not recommend for cooking or baking because of the inclusion of additional ingredients.
Ready for more buttery goodness? Here are our recommended butters which are perfect for baking or spreading it plainly on top of the bread.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Net Weight||250 g|
|Net Weight||400 g|
|Net Weight||200 g|
|Type||Salted, Organic & Grass-Fed|
|Net Weight||250 g|
|Type||Flavored, Organic & Grass-Fed|
|Flavor||Maple & Cinnamon Butter|
|Net Weight||90 g|
|Net Weight||500 g|
|Net Weight||227 g|
|Net Weight||200 g|
|Net Weight||225 g|
|Net Weight||90 g|
Pan de Manila
Extra Fin Unsalted Butter
Pure Ghee Clarified Butter
Naturally Softer Pure Irish Butter
Maple & Cinnamon Butter
Unsalted Butter - 82% Fat
Gold Butter Unsalted
Indulgently Rich and Smooth Taste
Delectably Delicious and Keto-Friendly
Slight Tanginess to Offset Creaminess
Perfect Balance of Saltiness and Sweetness
Natural Maple Goodness
Butter That's Both Versatile and Economical
Creamy Goodness You Know and Love
Mild Taste That Suits Any Recipe
A Budget-Friendly Premium Butter
Flavorful Garlicky Taste to Pair With Bread
|Price Starts at||₱320||₱399||₱189.75||₱350||₱146||₱375||₱189||₱194||₱135||₱98|
|Type||Unsalted||Clarified||Unsalted||Salted, Organic & Grass-Fed||Flavored, Organic & Grass-Fed||-||Unsalted, Grass-Fed||Unsalted||Unsalted||Flavored|
|Flavor||Plain||Plain||Plain||Plain||Maple & Cinnamon Butter||Plain||Plain||Plain||Plain||Garlic|
|Net Weight||250 g||400 g||200 g||250 g||90 g||500 g||227 g||200 g||225 g||90 g|
Feeling nostalgic about those Danish butter cookies from your childhood? Gracious Treatz demonstrates how easy it is to create them. And just in time as a treat for the holidays too.
Not sure what to gifts to give for the holidays? It doesn't have to be that expensive. You could always try making baked goods. It will cost you less than having to purchase them. It also adds a more personal touch, which will be appreciated by the recipient especially in these trying times.
Spread it, melt it, or whip it, butter surely has a place in your kitchen whether it is for simple sautéing to the more elaborate baking. We hope you find our guide helpful for all your butter needs. Whatever your preference, everything is made better with butter.
Author: J. Cuizon
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