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The Benefits of Butter

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butter health craftAlthough I’ve spent most of my life in the culinary profession, like most people, I was led to believe that butter was unhealthy, and didn’t fully realize the many benefits of butter until I attended culinary school at the age of 48.

Butter is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk, to create a water-in-oil emulsion of butterfat, milk proteins and water. It remains a solid when refrigerated, but softens to a spreadable consistency at room temperature. It’s used for baking, sauce making, and pan frying.

Clarified butter is butter with almost all of its water and milk solids removed, leaving almost-pure butterfat, made by heating butter to its melting point 90-95°F (32-35°C) and then allowing it to cool; after settling, the remaining components separate by density. At the top, whey proteins form a skin which is removed, and the resulting butterfat is then poured off from the mixture of water and casein proteins that settle to the bottom.

Clarified butter has a highersmoke point485°F (252 °C) than regular butter 325-375°F (163-190 °C), and is therefore preferred in some cooking applications, such assautéing.

Lactose Intolerance: Clarified butter has negligible amounts of lactose and casein proteins and is, therefore, acceptable to most who have a lactose intolerance or milk allergy.

Ghee, clarified butter which is brought to higher temperatures of around 250°F (120°C) once the water has evaporated, the milk solids will brown. This process flavors the ghee, and produces antioxidants. Remove the foam with a spoon. (It can be saved and used to flavor soups, bread dough, polenta, pilaf, or warm oatmeal.)

If you cook the butter until it turns a nutty-brown color it will take on a nut-like aroma and flavor (beurre noisette). You can use it right away as is, with or without the foam, and it’s wonderful drizzled over steamed or waterless cooked vegetables.

Remove any remaining solids by lining a mesh strainer with fine cheesecloth and set the strainer over a heatproof container. Carefully pour the warm butter through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the container.

Storage: Clarified butter will keep for 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator, or frozen.


The 8 Health Benefits of Butter by Dr. Josh Axe

1. Butter is an excellent source of Vitamins. One of the many beneficial vitamins we get from butter is Vitamin A, which has a wide range of function for our bodies. Vitamin A is needed to maintain good vision. It also keeps our endocrine system functioning well. Aside from Vitamin A, butter also has other fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D, E and K.

2. A great source for minerals. Trace minerals are found in butter such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium, which is incidentally, a powerful antioxidant. Butter contains more selenium per gram compared to herring or wheat germ. What’s more, butter is also a great source of iodine.

3. Contains healthy fatty acids. You can get your dose of short and medium-chain fatty acids from butter, which are great for supporting your immune system and boosting metabolism. It even has anti-microbial properties- excellent for fighting pathogenic microorganisms that live inside the intestinal tract.

4. Perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The arachidonic acid found in butter helps with brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.

5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). If your butter is sourced from cows that feed on green grass, it can contain high levels of CLA. This is a compound that can help provide protection against different types of cancer, and helps the body store muscle instead of fat.

6. Butter also has Glycospingolipids. These are fatty acids that have a specific function to protect the stomach from gastrointestinal infections.

7. An excellent source of good cholesterol- which I’ve posted before about why your body needs cholesterol. Basically, Cholesterol is needed for healthy cellular function. It also plays a part in brain and nervous system development.

8. Lastly, butter contains the Wulzen Factor- This is a hormone like substance with many functions. It can prevent stiffness in the joints, as well as arthritis. It is also responsible for ensuring that calcium is deposited in the bones rather than in the joints. Note that the Wulzen factor can only be found in raw butter and cream.

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