December 18, 2008
Magnificient and Fleeting (In Praise of Butter)
The most common mistakes made by home bakers, professionals say, have to do with the care and handling of one ingredient: butter. Creaming butter correctly, keeping butter doughs cold, and starting with fresh, good-tasting butter are vital details that professionals take for granted, and home bakers often miss.
Butter is basically an emulsion of water in fat, with some dairy solids that help hold them together. But food scientists, chefs and dairy professionals stress butter’s unique and sensitive nature the way helicopter parents dote on a gifted child…
“Once butter is melted, it’s gone,” said Jennifer McLagan, author of the new book “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes” (Ten Speed Press).
Warm butter can be rechilled and refrozen, but once the butterfat gets warm, the emulsion breaks, never to return.
So tragic — it’s like Paradise Lost!
I say forget bacon — butter is king.