Monday, November 9, 2009

Butterfat test: 86% vs 84%, yes 2% matter

Holidays are around the corner and we are churning butter all day, all week long. Last week our butter maker brought in a sample of 84% butterfat instead of the normal 86% butter: oops should we say!!!!!

This batch of butter was set aside and donated to a local bakery in exchange for brownies and cookies for everyone at the creamery, great deal!
But, this raised a question: what is the real different between 84% butterfat butter and 86%, does 2% really matter and how can you tell?

The response: ABSOLUTELY but we needed to show proof to our team here, so here are the Test Kitchen results:

Pan sauteing test:
1 ounce of each butter
2 identical pans used
2 burners on high heat
Butter placed in each pan at the same time

84% turned brown in less than 1 minute
86% stayed cream colored and bubbling after 1 minute

Conclusion: smoking point difference = YES

Cookie test:
Butter was used at the same temperature
Same exact recipe and measured ingredients
Oven at the same temperature
Baking time identical

84% cookies, brown and crispy
86% cookies, soft and chewy

Conclusion: cookie texture difference = YES

The 86% butter in the pan was later used to saute some scallops with a finishing touch of crème fraiche for the sauce and the cookies, although half the batch was eaten warm out of the oven and the other half made it into the office.

Finishing sauces is where you can also see the difference in thickness and taste the with a high fat butter, this will be our next test kitchen experiment.