A slice of butter on a knife

Butter

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Butter is a rich dairy product which can be used as a condiment or in cooking. Find out how to buy the best butter, how to store it and what you can make with it.

What is butter?

Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and buttermilk. The fat is compressed and chilled into blocks of butter. It can be used directly as a condiment or melted for frying or coating. Butter is also used in baking, such as in classic sponges and pastries, or for enriching sauces.

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Butter can be bought salted or unsalted. Salt is used for preservation and flavour, but varies according to the breed of cow and its feed.

Butter is around 80 per cent fat and for this reason, many people prefer to use alternatives. Low-fat spreads are generally not suitable for baking so read packaging carefully.

Some cake recipes replace butter with a mild-tasting oil such as sunflower oil, which is ideal for those with a dairy intolerance or allergy. Cakes made in this way tend to be moister and last longer, but don’t have the rich, buttery taste.

How to cook butter

Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and buttermilk. The fat is compressed and chilled into blocks of butter. It can be used directly as a condiment or melted for frying or coating. Butter is also used in baking, such as in classic sponges and pastries, or for enriching sauces.

Butter can be bought salted or unsalted. Salt is used for preservation and flavour, but varies according to the breed of cow and its feed.

Butter is around 80 per cent fat and for this reason, many people prefer to use alternatives. Low-fat spreads are generally not suitable for baking so read packaging carefully.

Some cake recipes replace butter with a mild-tasting oil such as sunflower oil, which is ideal for those with a dairy intolerance or allergy. Cakes made in this way tend to be moister and last longer, but don’t have the rich, buttery taste.

Recipe suggestions

Try brown butter over little shrimps on toast, drained gnocchi, or roasted cauliflower florets. In a simple pasta dish try a delicious brown butter linguine or chilled as a coating on radishes dipped in brown butter.  Experiment with adding flavours to your butter, before using with our collection of flavoured butters.

Choose the best butter

Butter comes in many brands and packaging. French butter is prized for its superior quality, but can be pricier than others. It’s best to buy the right type to suit your needs, most sweet and baking recipes call for unsalted butter, but salted butter is better for spreading onto toast and croissants.

How to store butter

Keep butter wrapped in its foil packaging or a butter dish in the fridge. Keep it away from pungent foods as it has a tendency to pick up the flavours.

For rubbed in cake mixtures, use butter straight from the fridge. For creamed cake mixtures, you’ll need to take the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you’re planning to use it – it needs to be soft in order to cream together well with the sugar.

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Watch this video on how to cream together butter and sugar for a light, fluffy cake