Apr 8, 2017

Butter Types

The three main types are uncultured, cultured, and European-style.

Uncultured or sweet cream butter, churned from pasteurized cream is the supermarket standard.

Cultured butter is made from cream that has been fermented with 'good bacteria', and it is churned longer and slower, according to the American Butter Institute.

European-style butter is made similarly, but not all European-style butters are cultured.

Both cultured and European-style butter have less water, more butterfat (from 82 to 87 percent) and a tangier, deeper flavor than mellow, sweet cream butter. There are salted and unsalted versions of each.

There are other variations of butter, such as 'light' butter, which has more water and about half the fat and calories than regular butter, but because it is made to be spreadable, it also contains preservatives and emulsifiers. Whipped butter gets its light, spreadable texture from nitrogen whipped into it after churning. USDA-certified organic butter comes from cows raised on organic, pesticide-free feed, without antibiotics or growth hormones.

Salt adds flavor and extends the shelf life of butter. According to the US Butter Institute, unsalted butter has a two-week refrigerator shelf life and salted butter two months. The USDA is a bit more generous, giving a range of one to three months. What you buy from the store has probably been in cold storage for longer than that. If you are not using your butter quickly, it will stay fresher if you store it in the freezer, where it will keep for up to nine months.