Episode 46: Butter

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
On this week's episode, we reminisce on how we didn't really eat butter growing up (we were raised on margarine), but also the history of butter, the science of butter, and the different types of butter there are out there. There's a lot of butter for everyone! We also help out our Food Fight listener as he enters the dating scene again.

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Let's taco 'bout it!

  • How is butter made? It all starts with cream. It's a triglyceride (3 fatty acids + glycerol). This triglyceride doesn't like water (hydrophobic) and is protected by phospholipids. The phospholipids have a head section that is water-loving (hydrophilic) faces outside to the water, and the tails are water-hating (hydrophobic). The create a globule, a safe haven for the triglyceride! You start whisking, the triglycerides start to glom together, since their safe haven has been disturbed. The air, a neutral party, starts to protect the triglycerides. If you continue to whisk longer, you deflate the air, the the triglycerides have really found each other and are butter!
  • By the way, this is a great little video on shear forces when it comes to the best motion to whisk your cream.
  • What are the different types of butter: Sweet cream butter, unsalted butter, European butter, cultured butter, whipped butter, and compound butters.
  • Unsalted butter has two ingredients: Cream and "natural flavors". What are those "natural flavors"? Who knows?!? Just be careful.
  • Cultured butter is allowed to fermented or soured by lactococcus bacteria, which will produce lactic acid. The process is a little like Cristiana Crimenelli's episode on Salami Fermentation.
  • European butter is higher in fat and lower in water content. Winter mentions Romina Rasmussen who owns the bakery Les Madeleines, taught that she purchases a different type of butter for her pastries, such as her famous kouing aman (featured on the Food Network).
  • Whipped butter has nitrogen gas injected in to make it light.
  • Compound butters: Have you tried Chef Shamy flavored butters? Winter really loves the garlic butter.

Run Time: 45 minutes

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