is a dairy product made by churning fresh cream. It
consists of an emulsion of water and milk proteins in a
matrix of fat, with over 80% being fat. It is used as a
condiment and for cooking in much the same ways as
vegetable oils or lard.
It is solid but soft at
room temperature, and melts easily. Its color is generally
pale yellow, but can vary from deep yellow to nearly white
depending largely on what type of food the animals were
eating. (Butter is typically paler in the winter, for
example, when dairy cattle feed on stored hay rather than
It is easy to make your
own butter in small batches and often worthwhile when
serving butter on the table, such as with fresh bread.
Take a small clean jar with a tight-fitting lid, and pour
in heavy cream or whipping cream, no more than one third
full. Shake the jar until you can feel or hear that a
solid mass has formed.
Pour off the liquid and use a
spatula or spoon to collect the butter. This soft whipped
butter can be served on its own, or mixed with herbs or
spices. You can also add flavor by pouring a small measure
of flavored liquor in with the cream.
Butter sold in United States
markets is typically 80% to 82% butterfat and salted,
unless marked otherwise. Flavorings, colorings, and
preservatives may also be added. European style butter, at
82% or greater fat content, is referred to as "dry
butter", and is available in specialty shops. Salted
butter is generally sold in sticks wrapped in wax paper,
while unsalted butter is sometimes wrapped in aluminum
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