It does not matter if you are an avid baker or are familiar with butter just enough to know that it makes your toasts yummy – grocery shopping has all of us look at those insanely increasing varieties of butter. Previously, when you used to stroll through the butter aisle, you would expect it to end soon. However, with the dairy industry all pumped up to come at par with other members of the food industry diversifying everything one can think of, you can find the butter aisle getting longer and longer.
Butter is the basic ingredient of almost everything in baking. Whether it is the divine puff pastry one would love to indulge into any time of the day or the gooey brownie that makes your heart swell with pleasure, butter is the irreplaceable ingredient in all. It is like the god of baked items.
If you are looking for how to distinguish between two popular spreads; American and European butter, you are at the right place.
A Little Peek into How Butter is made
Butter is the end-result of churning cream continuously until the fat and the liquid (buttermilk) separate. Butter is produced in a semi-solid state. It is actually the fat in the milk, which in the earlier times, was obtained by skimming the cream from milk. The churning of butter used to be done by hands.
If you think this was challenging, then you are in for a treat. What gives the butter a tangy taste is its natural souring process. This step was the hardest because waiting for butter to get sour naturally involved a considerable threat of micro-organisms attacking and spoiling the butter.
However, the technology has made things easier, and today, butter can be soured within no time as they usually add prepared cultures to it to speed up the souring process.
Various Varieties of Butter
As the aisles are hastily making room for more options in butter – other than salted and unsalted – our taste pallets are also expanding. We have come way forward from choosing simply between a stick or a tub of butter and salted or unsalted butter to having butter belonging to different nationalities.
Yes, you read, right! We have Irish butter, European butter, and American butter. So, what is the real deal? We all know what is the difference between salted and unsalted butter, but what is the difference between European butter and American butter? Let us enlighten you.
No, it is not just the stamp or the brand that makes European butter different than the American butter. It is truly about the process through which butter is produced. The European butter is churned a bit longer. Also, it has more cultures added to it.
The churning process of European butter is prolonged to get approximately 82 percent of butterfat. This means the European butter has more fat in it, but who minds a little extra fat if the butter melts in your mouth like anything? Anyways, this higher percentage of butterfat and added cultures make this type of butter having a tangier taste than its American counterpart.
With regards to taste, European kinds of butter are considered richer in taste with high butterfat and less amount of water. This quality of European butter makes it softer in texture with amazing melting speed. European style butter is best suited for recipes where butter is the real hero and is used for taste more than just buttering.
Moreover, this type of butter is the ideal choice for baking biscuits, making awesome pie crusts, and of course, a puff pastry that tastes smooth and melts as soon as it lands on your tongue.
The basic difference between European and American butter is of the fat content. The American butter has 2 percent less fat than the European one. Now, this 2 percent difference might not sound a lot, but it is. American butter is churned to render a minimum of 80 percent butterfat.
There are no cultures added in the American butter, so they are not as tangy as the European butter. Also, no cultures and less butterfat make this type of butter render a neutral taste. In comparison, American butter has more water content than the European butter, which is why they do not melt easily.
Owing to its neutral taste, the American butter is usually utilized in recipes where the butter is not the main ingredient. You can use it to make bread, brownies, or for greasing your baking pans; but not in making puff pastries, pie dough, or caramel candies.
Which One is The Best for Baking?
Your choice of using either American or European butter entirely depends on what you are making. With less water content and higher butterfat, European butter is the best choice for baking pastries that are more flaky and tender. Moreover, pie crusts turn out amazing when you use European butter. They shrink less and turn out more delectable.
Nonetheless, you do not need to use European butter in every baking recipe. They are a bit on the pricier end, so you do not need to burden your pocket too much. American butter is perfect for daily use and in making bread.
Famous Brands of Butter
- Land O’Lakes
- Trickling Springs Creamery
- Collier’s butter
Now, that you know the difference between European and American butter, you should be able to make a better choice when baking your pie crusts or brownies. The difference lies in the process of making butter. Overall, European butter is considered to be more flavorful with heavenly qualities of melting quickly and rising your pastries like you want them to be.
American butter is less flavorful and can be used to make dishes that do not focus mainly on butter. However, European butter is expensive and can cost you an arm and a leg if you are a frequent baker.