Nutritional breakdown per 100g
Protein1g
Fat82g
Saturated fat54g
Carbohydrate0g
  of which sugars0g
  starch0g
Fibre0g
Energy 
737kcal
3031kJ
Na0.57mg
Ca15mg
Fe0mg
Vitamin A1245µg
Vitamin C0mg
Vitamin D56µg
Vitamin E2mg
Vitamin B60mg
Vitamin B120µg

Butter

Butter is a concentrated form of fluid milk so has much the same nutritional profile as milk albeit with each component increased in proportion. Typically 20 litres of whole milk ar

Butter

Butter is a concentrated form of fluid milk so has much the same nutritional profile as milk albeit with each component increased in proportion. Typically 20 litres of whole milk are used to create about 1 Kg of butter so the nutritional values of each component will be ablout 20 times that of milk. Much of butter's nutritional and culinary value arises from this concentration.

The concentration inevitably makes butter a high fat product, whereas whole milk is typically about 4% fat butter it typically about 80% fat. The rest is water, some mlik solids (curd) and possibly some added salt. There may on occasion be other additives, particularly in the case of butter made from cows fed on winter feed and stored feeds. The yellow colour of butter comes from the carotene which naturally occurs in green plants. Butter made from cattle which are not eating fresh green feed may be artificially coloured.

Butter is a concentrated form of fluid milk so has much the same nutritional profile as milk albeit with each component increased in proportion. Typically 20 litres of whole milk are used to create about 1 Kg of butter so the nutritional values of each component will be ablout 20 times that of milk. Much of butter's nutritional and culinary value arises from this concentration.

The concentration inevitably makes butter a high fat product, whereas whole milk is typically about 4% fat butter it typically about 80% fat. The rest is water, some mlik solids (curd) and possibly some added salt. There may on occasion be other additives, particularly in the case of butter made from cows fed on winter feed and stored feeds. The yellow colour of butter comes from the carotene which naturally occurs in green plants. Butter made from cattle which are not eating fresh green feed may be artificially coloured.

Dietary and Nutritional value

The dietary value of butter comes from the fact that the concentration makes it a readily digestible energy source and coincidentally a source of vitamin A and vitamin D. It's culinary value also arises from the concentration. The high fat content makes it a useful cooking medium and the concentration of fat without excessive additions of other elements makes it a useful ingredient to add fat to recipes.

Culinary value

The same concentration of fat indicates why low fat alternatives are not useful in cooking. As it has value as an ingredient because it is a concentrated source of fat then replacing with a low fat alternative would simple require that we increase the amount to make up for the loss of fat which would leave the fat unaltered but dilute the other ingredients with the increased volume of whatever alternative we were using so making the use of a alternative pointless. As a cooking medium other fats can be substitued but as the cokking medium contributes relavtively little overall to the fat content of a recipe again it is questionable whether it is worth making such a substition.

There are two changes that may be made in using it as a cooking medium. One is to add a little oil so that one cooks with a mixture of butter and oil and the other is to change to using salted butter as the cooking medium. Both of these changes do not change the fat content but they do reduce the chance of burning the butter and so tainting whatever dish is being prepared.

Storage

The addition of alst also has one other function. Salt acts as a preservative increasing the storage life of butter. Butter consists of about 20% water and added salt tends to remain in the water rather than the fat. This is not noticable in use because the water and fat are mixed so well but as any bacterial growth is likely to start in the water within the butter rather than the fat then adding 1% to 2% salt to butter makes the salt content of the water about 5% to 10% which is sufficient to inhibit bacterial growth and so increase the storage life of the butter.

Butter should be stored in an airtight container as it easily takes on other flavours. While this is a problem for storage it aslo increases it's value as an ingredient as it can become a medium to carry flavours. Butter within a sauce will not just make the sauce taste of butter but will also make it taste of any other ingredients, herbs or spices added to the butter.

Summary

To summarise. Salted butter keeps better and is marginally better for cooking but the effect is marginal so unsalted butter may be preferred. Low fat alternatives are not useful in cooking and baking but may be useful as spreads and if your making a bacon omlette then apply a little reality check and stop worrying about the fat in the butter!