Sweet Butter

Sweet butter is not literally sweet. In essence, it is “a type of unsalted butter made from fresh pasteurized cream,” as specified in the Oxford English Dictionary. Most often, these are the sticks of butter you will find at the supermarket which are labeled as “unsalted butter,” but in reality, when a butter is called sweet butter, it pertains to the use of fresh sweet cream during the butter production and not the salt content.

The use of the pasteurized cream is important as it helps determine the variety used in the manufacture of butter. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, there are two types of butter obtainable in the U.S. market. First is the one made from sweet cream or called as sweet cream butter and in the form of lightly salted, unsalted and whipped. On the other hand, cultured cream butter has a richer flavor and originally used in European butters.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grading scheme used in butters, the ones labeled as U.S. Grade AA are described as having a “delicate, sweet flavor, with a fine, highly pleasing aroma,” is made from ” high-quality fresh, sweet cream,” has a “smooth, creamy texture with good “spreadability,” and “may possess a slight feed and a definite cooked flavor.”

In the U.S., sweet butter is similar to unsalted butter. A tip from the USDA indicates that “unsalted butter may be labeled “sweet” or “unsalted” butter.” The same applies also to Canada, which identifies sweet butter as such: it is “also labelled “unsalted butter”, sweet butter is the same as churned butter but made without any added salt. Sweet butter doesn’t stay fresh as long as salted butter so should be used soon after purchase.”

With that differentiation in mind, the use of sweet butter would depend on the dish you are making. Generally speaking, sweet butter can be employed in both baking and cooking. Just read the label if you opt to cook with unsalted or salted butter and use the butter as indicated in the recipe.

Dishes that benefit from the use of butter in cooking include the Hollandaise sauce, béchamel sauce and during stir-fries or pan-frying. When baking, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies, pecan sandies, and simple butter-centered cookies and cakes would bring out the optimal flavor and depth of the sweet butter. The all-butter pie crust (also known as pate brisee) should also be part of the list. So buy the best that you can.

Butter

Butter is that golden yellow, melt in the mouth piece we spread on our bread, bake with our cookies and cake, and cook with our popcorn and other dishes. It’s a well-loved dairy product all over the globe – from the United States to India where it is made into clarified butter or ghee.

 

In the United States, butter is officially defined as “the food product usually known as butter, and which is made solely from milk or cream, or both, with or without common salt, and with or without additional coloring matter, and containing not less than 80 percent by weight of milkfat, all tolerance having been allowed for,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Congress of 1923 from which it was legislated.

To fix a pound of butter, about 10.5 to 11 quarts of milk is needed for its cream which is churned into butter. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, two types of butter are sold in the United States. One is the sweet cream butter (further sub-divided into salted, unsalted and whipped butter) while the other is cultured cream butter.

 

The sweet cream butter is the most popular type of butter for daily use. In particular, the lightly salted butter is the butter of choice for common cooking (such as stir frying, making butter garlic bread, etc.) while the unsalted butter is ideal in making cookies, cakes, pies and pastries.

The fundamental steps in preparing butter, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, include separation of the cream from the milk, legal pasteurization, aging (for proper churning and texture consistency), ripening, churning, draining of the buttermilk, washing, working and then packaging. Butter is ordinarily sold and used in the shape of solid blocks and sticks of various sizes as well as in individual portions (the ones we can acquire from the hotel breakfast buffets or airline meals with bread).

Butter has many applications. In choice cooking, it can be melted and used in stir frying or frying of chicken, fish, and vegetables. It can also be blended with herbs, frozen and then served up on top of steaks. Butter is also perfect in enhancing sauces, as spread, and as oil (like the clarified butter or ghee). In baking, it’s an ideal element in cookies, cakes, and pastries because of its milkfat content and flavor. It’s not just the color that’s gold, but it is in essence gold in the kitchen.