Butter is the fat of cream that is separated – more or less – completely from the other milk constituents by agitation or churning. The mechanical rupture of the protein film around the fat globules allows the fat globules to clump together. Butter formation is an example of breaking of an oil-in-water emulsion by agitation. The resulting emulsion that forms in butter itself is a water-in-oil emulsion, with about 18% water being dispersed in 80% fat and a small amount of protein acting as an emulsifier.
Butter is made from either sweet or sour cream. Butter from sour cream has a more pronounced flavour. The cream may be allowed to sour naturally or may be acidified by the addition of pure culture of lactic acid bacteria to sweet cream, which produces a butter of better flavour and keeping quality.
It consists of more than 80% butterfat and small amounts of protein, vitamin A and D, minerals, lactose and water. Butter must have a minimum of 80% fat content, a non-fat solid content of 2% and a maximum of 16% moisture (water).
Average composition of Butter
Protein (Casein) 1.5%
Factors that affect quality of Butter
The breed of animal (cow or buffalo) from which the milk was obtained.
The type of feed that was available for the animal.
The method of manufacture (fresh or ripened cream).
The efficiency of manufacture (wrong temperature may affect the colour and flavour of butter).
Whether or not the butter was blended.
The addition of salt and colour.
The method of packing and storing.
Classification of Butter
There are four main types of butter:
Fresh or Sweet cream Butter,
Ripened cream or Lactic Butter,
Blended or Milled Butter and
(Fresh and ripened cream Butters are known as “Creamery Butters”).
Manufacture of Creamery Butter
The manufacture of creamery butter takes place in four main stages, as mentioned:
The cream (35%) is pasteurized at 95°C (203°F) and held for 2 to 4 seconds. It is then cooled to 4.5°C (40°F) and held there for several hours to ensure the uniform hardening of the fat globules.
When the end product is going to be a ripened butter or lactic butter, a “starter” (which is a laboratory culture of acid-producing bacteria) will be added during the Holding stage, in which the holding temperature will be 15.5-18.5°C (60-65°F) for 3 to 4 hours before being cooled to 4.5°C (40°F). This gives the butter a much fuller flavour. However, the flavour tends to fade and therefore the ripened cream butter has a shorter life than the sweet cream butters. This stage will be omitted when making the sweet cream butter.
The churning of cream is done in large stainless steel churns that hold about 1000 gallons of cream. The temperature must not exceed more than 4°C. The churns are rotated while internal rollers pass through the cream. This breaks the envelope of non-fat particles/solids that surround the small fat globules and coalesce to form larger groups of butter fat. The envelope is dispersed in the thin liquid part of the cream to form buttermilk. After about 30 minutes of churning, the butter separates out in the form of grains and floats in the buttermilk. The buttermilk is carefully drained away and used for other purposes.
Washing and Salting
The butter grains are now washed with ice water to remove any traces of buttermilk left on the surface of each grain, in order to maximize the keeping quality. Ice water also helps to harden butter grains. Salting can be done in two ways:
By adding fine grains of dairy salt, and
By soaking in a brine solution for 10-15 minutes and allowing the butter to absorb it.
The quantity of salt added usually average 1% for ripened cream butter and 1.5% for fresh cream butter. Salt contributes to flavour and improves the keeping quality.
The butter grains are then worked into a smooth solid mass by rotating the churns slowly for 10-15 minutes, then weighed and packed. Colouring (annatto) may also be added at this stage. If unsalted butter is required, the salting stage is omitted.
Blended butter is a blend of butters from different regions or countries. These are mixed together to produce a product of standard quality at a competitive price, under a brand name.
This group includes some butter that are not commonly available and those which are not true butters. These include:
Whey is the liquid which separates from the curd while making cheese. The butterfat obtained from the whey may be used to produce butter, or it may be added to fresh cream/milk prior to it being processed into butter. Due to its origin, this butter has a faint cheesy flavour.
Milk blended Butter
Quantities of milk are blended into butter, thereby increasing the moisture content to 24% (max.).
This is spray-dried butter containing 80% milk fat and non-fatty solids. It is produced on a large scale in Australia and is used mainly in the Bakery trade.
These are made by adding a particular natural flavour or colour to butter, depending on the type of food with which it is served. It is generally used as an accompaniment e.g. Lobster Butter, Parsley Butter etc.
This is not a true butter, rather obtained by crushing the cocoa beans. It is the most expensive ingredient used in chocolate making. Cocoa butter substitutes, using palm oil, are also available.
It is a paste-like substance obtained by grinding roasted peanuts that may be further emulsified and flavoured.
Uses of Butter
As a spread for bread, toast and scones.
As a basic ingredient in pastry-making and cake-making.
Used as an accompaniment (compound butter).
To enhance the taste and flavour of soups and sauces.
As a cooking medium (The smoke point of butter fat is only 127-130°C; so a vegetable oil should be used when high cooking temperatures are required).
For butter sculptures.
Butter is available in 10 Gms, 100 Gms and 500 Gms packs in the market.
Butter is a perishable product and tends to loose flavour and go rancid on prolonged storage. Exposure to sunlight can make it go rancid faster.
It must be stored at refrigerated temperatures (2°C), well wrapped and away from strong flavoured foods, for it absorbs odours and flavours easily. If purchased in bulk, it can be frozen at -25 to -35°C.
A good quality butter should have a clean flavour and aroma characteristic of the type of butter, have a close body, a waxy texture, be of uniform colour, have a uniform distribution of salt (if added), be clean in appearance and have an absence of any free moisture.
Ghee is obtained by clarifying butter. Butter is heated to evaporate water. Pure ghee has a higher keeping quality and is a good cooking medium and a shortening agent used in Indian Cuisine.
CHEF VERNON COELHO.
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT FOOD PRODUCTION