Butter Vs Margarine

Photo by Jennifer Squires

I haven’t done a lot of blog baking this month due to the amount of work I have to do and preparing myself for this new job to the extent where baking has taken a massive backseat in my life. Which for me is very unusual. So today I bring you an insight and my view on the ongoing debate Butter Vs Margarine.

The Differences

Butter is made by simply churning fresh or pasteurised cows cream. Butter consists of butterfat, milk protein and water and is very high in fat. Butter can be made from other animal’s milk such as sheep, goat and buffalo. Salt, flavourings and preservatives are sometimes added to butter.

Salted butter tends to be used in everyday cooking whilst unsalted butter tends to be preferred by chefs and bakers. Butter can vary from a deep yellow colour with  rich creamy flavour (British) to a paler yellow with more of a subtle taste (European). Ghee, which is used mainly used in Indian cuisine is also known as clarified butter has most of the milk solids removed is mostly made up of butterfat.

Butter browns well unlike margarine and has a slightly nutty taste to it and compliments pan fried fish very well. It is also used to make traditional French cakes such as Financiers and Madeleines.

Margarine came about 1860’s and was invented by a French chemist as a cheap replacement for butter. It is a semi solid emulsion composed mainly of vegetable oils and water and some margarines contain dairy. There are usually two forms in which maragarine is found. The soft spreadable kind found in plastic tubs and in block forms wrapped in foil or waxed paper.

Most bakers and chef’s will say only use the proper stuff, and by proper stuff they mean butter. Me personally I like to use both. If I’m using butter it has to be unsalted.

Pastry – Butter (ALWAYS) Using butter will help prevent your pastry from shrinking and keeps firm
Buttercream – Butter Firms up quickly and nicer in the mouth feel
Cake – Margarine Easy to cream and helps make my cake light and fluffy
Yeasted Products – Butter No particular reason
Cookies – Butter or Margarine Depending on what type of cookies I’m making. Soft and chewy margarine, crunchy and crumbly butter
Biscuits – Butter or Margarine If they need to be rolled out, butter if not either will do
Scones – Butter Always have used butter. Haven’t tried it without
Cheesecake Bases – Butter or Margarine No particular reason

Oh So Sweet Baker x


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