Starters, main courses, desserts or cakes – butter is used in many different dishes. It can be used for frying meat or sauteing vegetables. Butter gives a special flavour to cakes and cookies and makes delicious smooth creams and fillings. It is also a wonderful spread on sandwiches. Read on if you want to learn more about this incredibly versatile dairy product.
How butter is made from cow‘s milk
Butter is a wholesome dairy product and has been used in cooking for thousands of years. In earlier days, milk was simply left until sour and the cream was settling at the top. The cream was then skimmed off the top and butter produced in wooden butter churns by hand. Due to microbiological contamination however, dairy products often proved spoilt.
Today, the butter making process is much improved due to advanced technological processes, strictest hygiene and temperature control thus making butter a dependably safe product of the highest quality. Naturally, butter is still made from cream but dairies today are using centrifuges to separate the cream from the milk. The cream is then pasteurized at 85 °C to 110 °C to eradicate any microorganisms and make it safe for consumption. The pasteurization process also allows for much longer storage. The cream is left to a controlled fermentation or ripening and churned to produce butter. Dairies today use butter churns made of stainless steel.
Depending on whether lactic acids or salt is added, different varieties of butter can be produced: sweet cream butter, lactic butter and salted lactic butter.
Why is butter a light yellow – while milk is white?
When cows are fed quality animal feed they take in beta carotene. This is then enclosed in the milk’s fat molecules. Milk is an oil-in-water emulsion so the fat and protein molecules distributed in the milk strongly break the light so it looks white. As butter has a high fat content, however, it is light yellow in colour due to the beta carotene in the fat molecules.
Germany’s dairy industry produces by extremely high quality standards. Oldenburger works in cooperation with a large pool of farmers. As the cow‘s keeping greatly affects the quality of the butter, we have developed a programme which ensures a consistently high quality of the milk our farmers provide. Our Milkmaster programme enables farmers to cooperate in supplying our dairies while adhering to agreed production standards and reporting on a regular basis. Farmers are externally audited every two years. The Milkmaster Codex covers all aspects of dairy production like breeding and feeding dairy cattle, animal welfare, biodiversity and environmental protection as well as milk production and quality assurance.
How to Use Butter in Gastronomy and Catering
Whether it’s for soups or sauces, for roasting or baking – butter plays an essential role in your kitchen. Butter changes its state of aggregation at around 32-34 °C. So it is used in gastronomy in many ways: creamy and spreadable as well as molten and liquid – which makes butter an incredibly versatile product.
Butter can be used for frying. It has a smoke point of approximately 175 °C. Chefs can therefore reduce the heat in woks and frying pans and still obtain perfect results.
Butter is an excellent flavour carrier in cooking and can be added to potato purées, polentas or risottos.
Butter can be clarified and used to prepare sauces like Sauce Hollandaise or for sautéing. Clarified butter has a much higher smoke point of 252 °C.
Nut butter is prepared similar to cleared butter and can be used to coat meat or fish which is then cooked at low temperature. Nut butter gives a very delicious taste.
When meat is sauteed with oil and herbs, a piece of butter can be added at the end. The butter acquires the taste of the herbs nicely and adds a beautiful flavour to the meat.
Butter helps to thicken sauces and adds shine.
Cooled butter is a standard of any mis-en-place.
Unsalted butter is perfect for preparing doughs for baking.
It makes great creams and fillings.
Butter is a delicious spread on bread and sandwiches.
It can be used for herb or spiced butter.
Bread and butter (plain or whipped or spiced) can be served as a complimentary dish.
Butter is a product with characteristic properties. Its wonderful aromatic taste adds to many dishes and brings out the natural flavour of ingredients.
The Delicious Taste of Butter
Butter has a fine taste after churning. Depending on added salt or lactic acids, different butter varieties are produced. For baking, cooking or roasting, different butter varieties can be used for the best result.
How to store and serve butter
Butter should always be kept refrigerated at a maximum of 8°C. Always keep butter carefully wrapped. For a buffet, use individual portion packs.
To prepare moulded butter portions, the butter should be at room temperature and spread into the moulds with a knife. Cool or freeze, remove from the mould and serve in a cooled container. For butter sculptures, work in a cool room. Cool butter portions down in ice water. Then, apply butter to a shaped frame with cold hands. Finish with carving tools. Note that butter sculptures only keep in cool or air-conditioned rooms.
Butter also freezes well both packed and moulded. Butter portions for mis-en-place or your buffet can easily be prepared in advance.
Sweet Cream Butter: pure, creamy and mild. Sweet cream butter can be used for binding sauces, baking and as a spread on breadrolls with honey or jam.
Lactic Butter: pure, aromatic and mild, with a slight sour note. It can be used for baking, cooking, roasting or as a spread.
Salted Lactic Butter: pure, aromatic and mild, with a slight sour note and salty. It can be used for cooking, roasting or as a spread.