|Pictured left: Butter sold in a London market, salted (right) and unsalted (left)|
Butter is a dairy product with high butterfat content which is solid when chilled and at room temperature in some regions, and liquid when warmed. It is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. It is generally used as a spread on plain or toasted bread products and a condiment on cooked vegetables, as well as in cooking, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying. Butter consists of butterfat, milk proteins and water, and often added salt.
Most frequently made from cow's milk, butter can also be manufactured from the milk of other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. Salt (such as dairy salt), flavorings (such as garlic) and preservatives are sometimes added to butter. Rendering butter, removing the water and milk solids, produces clarified butter or ghee, which is almost entirely butterfat.
Butter is a water-in-oil emulsion resulting from an inversion of the cream, where the milk proteins are the emulsifiers. Butter remains a firm solid when refrigerated, but softens to a spreadable consistency at room temperature, and melts to a thin liquid consistency at 32 to 35 °C (90 to 95 °F). The density of butter is 911 grams per litre (0.950 lb per US pint). It generally has a pale yellow color, but varies from deep yellow to nearly white. Its natural, unmodified color is dependent on the source animal's feed and genetics, but the commercial manufacturing process commonly manipulates the color with food colorings like annatto or carotene. Read more...