If you’ve been hanging around these parts for any length of time, one thing is evident: I’m a huge fan of butter.
Ok, wait… Paula Deen could probably out fan me when it comes to butter love, but that’s neither here nor there. (Do you have Paula Deen’s voice in your head now? I do…)(ugh…)
Let’s take a few minutes to discuss butter. There’s a lesson here, and it’s an important one.
Why do we use unsalted butter in baking? Is it really that important? YES. Yes, it is.
Butter is my go-to fat in the kitchen. Olive oil is nice. Coconut oil is lovely. Butter gets the job done!
Butter is typically made from cow’s milk and consists of mostly butterfats. Low fat butter is suspicious, at best. Butter is generally about 80% fat, with the remaining 20% consisting of water and milk solids.
You have a choice when you go to the grocery: salted or unsalted butter. If you’re thinking about slathering your butter on a baguette, perhaps you’ll reach for the salted butter. If you’re baking a cobbler, perhaps you’ll reach for the unsalted butter. If you’re bargain shopping, perhaps you’ll reach for the cheapest butter on the shelves.
Buy unsalted butter always!
- Unsalted butter ensures that you can control the amount of salt you add to your cakes, cookies and Strawberry Cream Puffs. Different companies add different amounts of salt to their butter. How are you to know how salty your butter is, and how you should adjust the salt in your recipe? It’s too much of a guessing game. Removing the salt from the butter equation puts you in charge of your cookie salting.
- Salt is a preservative. Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted butter. That means that unsalted butter is typically fresher.
- Salt can mask flavors! You may not be able to taste or smell if your butter is off because clever clever salt can mask funky taste and odors. Tricky.
Does butter reeeaaallllyyy go bad?
Heck yes it does! Unsalted butter lasts about 3 months (although I really don’t like to let it sit around the house this long). Salted butter lasts for just over 5 months (that’s so long, right?). If you think your butter might be off, give it a good sniff. The nose always knows. Also, slice your butter. Is the inside the same color as the outside… or is the outside a darker casing around the butter? Bad butter is two different colors.
What happens if I use bad butter?
The world will end.
But we really loooovvveee salted butter!
I know! Of course you do! I do too! That’s why we can make our own! And we can toss fresh herbs in the mix, and call it Super Herb Butter.