Another Wonderful World of Butter

So, this is another week of no time for recipes.  Don’t be surprised if this lasts for the rest of the semester.  Sorry, guys.  But, we do get to talk more about butter, so that’s good, right?

First of all, something that I forgot to mention last time, but is something necessary to talk about: salted versus unsalted butter.  Technically, when a recipe calls for butter, (especially a dessert recipe), it means unsalted butter.  Now, I usually have salted in the fridge, so I use that, and it’s not a HUGE deal.  But do this with the same amount of hesitation that you would walking barefoot in the costume shop.  If the salt ratio is off in the end product, you have no one to blame but yourself if you used salted butter.  One main reason is this: different companies put different amounts of salt in their butters, so you won’t get a consistent outcome…unless, I guess, you used only one brand of butter for the rest of your life.  But what’s more is that the recipe already calls for salt.  (And if the recipe doesn’t call for salt, well, you don’t really want to use that one.)  The amount of salt in the recipe has been formulated on the assumption you’re using unsalted butter, so you would need to reduce the amount of added salt if you use salted butter.  BUT HOW, when you don’t know how much salt the company added to their butter in the first place?  Told you it’s tricky…

But, I am still not going to come at you with pitchforks if you use salted butter.  As I already mentioned, I use it.  This is due in great part to the fact that unsalted butters aren’t always what I want them to be.  What do I want them to be?  I want them to say “Ingredients: Cream”.  More often than not, they say “Ingredients: Cream, Flavoring”.  And you can (I can, at least) totally taste the fake butter flavoring.  I rebel against margarine flavored like butter.  My family has to deal with my complete intolerance about it as I refer to it as “Fake Butter”, sometimes in public.  I’m particular about my dairy products. So, naturally, I don’t want my REAL butter tasting like fake butter.  Salted butter often has two ingredients: cream and salt.  The salt must bring out a lot of butter flavors, enough that companies find it necessary to flavor the unsalted variety.  Long story short, check your labels for the respectable butters that only list “Cream” for their unsalted variety’s ingredient.  I prefer the salted gamble if I can’t find the unflavored unsalted.

Let us next discuss butter and the refrigerator.  Straight from the FDA: “The product is not held hot or cold for safety. [When shipping,] the product is held at low temperatures for quality reasons.”  Quality as in, you don’t get melted-then-cooled deformed butter blobs.  But there you have it, short and sweet.  You don’t HAVE to refrigerate it.  But I would advise against leaving a bunch of pounds on the counter.  The best place for butter that you’re not trying to spread on toast throughout the week is in the fridge.  Keep it someplace where it won’t pick up too many of those unwanted flavors, though!!!

Let me know if you enjoy these posts, because I usually enjoy researching and writing them–the kind where you might actually learn something!  (I hope you do, because I usually do).  See you next week with inevitable Thanksgiving-ly things!

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