A few years ago, we were teetering on the edge of being butter-phobic, looking to olive oil and butter spread imitations to try to re-create the richness that only real butter can give to our recipes. To some, butter has become an indulgence for special occasions, or others have banned the creamy spread all together. Recent studies and articles in popular and scientific magazines have come to the conclusion that butter is not to blame for health problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, poor heart health, or other typical weight-related issues. What scientists are finding is that many of these issues are actually caused by the over consumption of processed foods, certain sugars, and manufactured fats.
So now, butter is making a comeback faster than your favorite 90’s celebrity and here are four reasons why we should end the war with the one, and only, butter.
1) Butter has Healthy (Yes, Healthy) Properties
Butter is a natural fat, filled with the soluble vitamins A, E, and the elusive K2. K2 is not a nutrient typically found in today’s modern American diet, and butter is one the few foods that naturally contains it. K2 has excellent heart health properties, helps clear skin issues, is great for bone strength and brain function, and has high levels of cancer preventatives. Butter also contains healthy saturated fats, which help elevate the good cholesterol, along with short, and medium chain fats, which can actually help boost the body’s ability to burn fat. Butter, in moderation is actually good for you! Now, where is my loaf of freshly baked French bread?…
2) Butter is Inexpensive
Have you ever bought a pricy bottle of olive oil only to find it nearly gone at the week’s end? Butter is a far more cost effective option as cooking fats go. Since butter includes one, sometimes two ingredients (cream and salt) there is no need for huge price mark ups. Unlike the artificial butter spreads, which are heavily processed, or oils that need to be imported and refined, butter is simple to produce and uses simple ingredients. In fact, you could make butter yourself to cut the cost even more.
Since butter is basically a pure product, it stays stable under heat, while other processed fats and oils oxidize when heated. Butter does have a relatively low smoke point, meaning it can easily burn when heated too high, so watch your heat. To achieve high-temperature cooking with butter, clarify butter at home or look for ghee (a pre-made clarified butter) in most natural food markets. Clarifying butter pulls the water and milk solids away from the butter fat, leaving only the purest butterfat. Clarified butter is a well-known trade secret to culinarians, used mostly for sauces, roux’s, and sautéing.
Butter cream frosted cakes, pie crusts, cobblers, buttery croissants, chocolate chip cookies, just to name a few, would not be the same without out butter. The 80% butterfat is ideal for baking. Just make sure you are using unsalted butter to ensure that you can control the amount of salt you add to your baking recipes. Too much salt can mask flavors, so let your sweet cakes sing with the unsalted sticks.
4) Butter Tastes Good!
Because it is full of highly palatable fat, butter can make almost anything delicious! Butter is rich, versatile, satisfying, and always feels decadent; you always know when butter is the real-deal. Why would you want anything else?