Different Types of Butter and How to Use Them

Different Types of Butter - The choice is yours

Have you ever walked down the butter aisle in the supermarket and been baffled by the amount of choice? Well, we’re here to help. As butter is popular and can be used in virtually any dish, there are many brands offering butter now. So much of the choice in the dairy aisle is different versions of the same thing. We’d recommend checking the ingredients list instead of being drawn in by the colourful packaging. If the ingredients feature several items you can’t even guess how to pronounce, it’s likely to be a highly processed butter. Some brands include complicated additives to improve the shelf life of their product or make it an even brighter yellow when all you need to do to make butter is churn milk fat and decide whether to add salt or not. 

Butter Is Versatile

There’s not really anything a block of standard butter can’t do. Of course, it can be spread on sandwiches, bread, toast, or crumpets but there’s so much more. It can be used to fry foods, roast vegetables in the oven for extra richness, or add depth to sauces and pasta dishes. That’s not to mention everything you can bake with it. Mix with flour and a little sugar to make the perfect crumble topping, have a go at making your own pastry for treats like lemon meringue pie or jam tarts. Basically, any dish you’re whipping up in the kitchen can be enhanced with butter. If you have the time, you can even brown butter on the hob to add a decadent nutty profile to bakes or sauces.


Blended Butter and Margarine

Butter contains saturated fats but in a form that recent studies show is probably good for the body. It also contains many fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A and E. It is a high-calorie food, which we think is fine in moderation, but if you want a lower-calorie choice you could consider a blended butter. These are more processed than butter but they’re easier to spread so you can use less, and they have a longer expiry date so if you don’t use butter frequently, they may be a good choice. They tend to be made up of half butter, so you’ll still get a lot of the nutritional benefits but bear in mind you’ll also have additives. These spreads can be used in place of butter in most cooking, but you cannot fry with them as they’ll burn too quickly. If a baking recipe calls for soft margarine, then a blended spread will work in place of it but if the recipe calls for hard butter you may not get the same results. For example, cookies made with blended spreads or margarine tend to spread out and be very thin instead of rising. We’re sure you can master it, but you may have to make a few batches to get the measurements right. That’s a lot of cookies for you and your friends and family to eat, oh no! Also, baked items made with spreads may not be quite as rich, but spreads are cheaper than butter so if you’re on a budget they can be a good choice.


How to Choose Salted or Unsalted?

This is largely down to personal taste. Some people need to watch their salt intake, for example, those with high blood pressure, but there isn’t a significant amount in butter. If you’re using butter for cooking savory dishes, salted butter will add a perfect balance to the creaminess. If you’re baking sweet items, you may be put off and worried everything will taste like salted caramel if you use salted butter. Many baking recipes call for a pinch of salt for balance though, and with all the other ingredients you won’t taste it. Some bakers notice a difference in browning and texture between salted and unsalted so it’s probably a case of trial and error to see what works for you.

How the Cows’ Diet Affects Butter

One of the things you may have noticed when looking at different types of butter is that some were labelled grass-fed. This isn’t just a new buzzword; it actually makes butter healthier for you. By choosing grass-fed butter you are supporting cows to have a natural diet instead of just processed grain. In return, the butter is tastier and more nutritious. It contains more fat-soluble nutrients than regular butter and has a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids so if you haven’t had all your oily fish this week it makes a great choice.

Grass-fed butter just so happens to be the new product from our Australian dairy farm. Find a stockist here