working with butter

Butter is an indispensable ingredient in pastry making. Butter consists of only milk fat. Here are some characteristics of butter;

  • Primary function of butter is to give the final product (pastry item) more flavor.
  • Butter contains 17% water, 82% fat and 1% milk solids.
  • Butter is the first ingredient that is creamed in the mixer when using the creaming method. Creaming method is used a lot when making pastry, as explained in a later lesson.
  • The more the butter in the recipe, the less the gluten development (because the fat coats the flour molecules preventing contact between the flour and the liquid ingredients) the more flaky the texture of the pie crust.
  • Butter is also used to preserve the final product.
  • Butter and flour is used to line a pan to ease cake removal.
  • Butter adds moisture to the final product.
  • Butter gives richness to the final product.
  • Butter can make you gain considerable weight because it contains a lot of fat and calories.
  • Butter or any other type of fat can be used to save a 'runny' buttercream.
  • Butter slows down gluten development when making breads.
  • Butter tenderizes the final product.
  • Salted butter contains more water than unsalted butter; inhibits gluten development.


How can you make butter from scratch? Simply over whip 35% cream using the whisk attachment and voila there is your butter.

By fermenting (allowing it to rest) skim milk with a bit of lactic acid you create buttermilk.

Butter can be replaced with margarine, shortening or oil although the final product will not be as tasty.

Cultured butter is buter that contains certain bacteria in order to produce a unique butter flavor.





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