Rich, creamy and easily added to everything, butter is a universally loved dairy product. However, did you know that there’s a stark difference between the butter you pick up from supermarket shelves and ‘raw butter’? Read on.
When you think of butter and everything associated with the idea of a great meal, the smooth yellow substance that can be slathered on toast or used to bast steaks, comes to mind. Growing up in India, we’ve always been subjected to the wonders of Amul butter on everything from maska pao to pao bhaji and dolloped on top of cheese dosas. What’s most fascinating about butter is the ability it has to make practically everything taste delicious and enhance the flavour of meat, vegetables, herbs and carbs of all kinds.
One of the key differences between cultured butter and pasteurised butter lies in the preservation of active enzymes in the cream used to make cultured butter. These bioavailable enzymes aid digestion, therefore making the dairy product easier to assimilate. However, the process of making pasteurised butter involves heating the milk cream at high temperatures, therefore leading to the destruction of the natural enzymes present in the milk. This in turn, makes pasteurised butter harder to digest and unfortunately, one of the causes behind cholesterol and other lifestyle diseases.
Pasteurised butter destroys the lactose present in the milk and is heavier on the gut, which in turn means that the digestive enzymes work twice as hard to process what is ingested. This is known to be one of the leading symptoms of lactose intolerance. On the other hand, raw butter has a flavour that resembles closest to the milk it has been churned from, is a lengthier process and has a naturally creamy texture, like that of a luscious mousse.
The shelf life of cultured butter is relatively shorter to that of pasteurised butter, which can stay in good condition when refrigerated, for up to 3 months. Whereas, cultured butter has a shorter shelf life due to the presence of active bacteria that change the composition of the butter over a period of 30 days. Once cultured butter turns sour, it adapts the flavour similar to that of a good quality Parmigiano Reggiano.
The process of making one batch of cultured butter is much longer and slower to that of making a batch of pasteurised butter, which is almost always, produced in a factory. The process of making cultured butter means that the bacterial culture must be reintroduced into the cream in order to “age” it. Although slightly expensive than its pasteurised counterpart, the wholesome flavour and quality of cultured butter works wonderfully in everything.