PNG images: Butter
Butter is a dairy product containing up to 80% butterfat (in commercial products) which is solid when chilled and at room temperature in some regions and liquid when warmed. It is made by churning fresh or fermentedcream or milk to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. It is generally used as a spread on plain or toasted bread products and a condiment on cooked vegetables, as well as in cooking, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying. Butter consists of butterfat, milk proteins and water, and in some types, added salt. Butter may also be sold with added flavourings, such as garlic butter.
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Most frequently made from cows' milk, butter can also be manufactured from the milk of other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. Salt such as dairy salt, flavourings and preservatives are sometimes added to butter. Rendering butter produces clarified butter or ghee, which is almost entirely butterfat.
Butter is a water-in-oil emulsion resulting from an inversion of the cream; in a water-in-oil emulsion, the milk proteins are the emulsifiers. Butter remains a solid when refrigerated, but softens to a spreadable consistency at room temperature, and melts to a thin liquid consistency at 32–35 °C (90–95 °F). The density of butter is 911 g/L (0.950 lb per US pint). It generally has a pale yellow colour, but varies from deep yellow to nearly white. Its unmodified colour is dependent on the animals' feed and genetics but is commonly manipulated with food colouring's in the commercial manufacturing process, most commonly annatto or carotene.
Unhomogenized milk and cream contain butterfat in microscopic globules. These globules are surrounded by membranes made of phospholipids (fatty acid emulsifiers) and proteins, which prevent the fat in milk from pooling together into a single mass. Butter is produced by agitating cream, which damages these membranes and allows the milk fats to conjoin, separating from the other parts of the cream. Variations in the production method will create butters with different consistencies, mostly due to the butterfat composition in the finished product. Butter contains fat in three separate forms: free butterfat, butterfat crystals, and undamaged fat globules. In the finished product, different proportions of these forms result in different consistencies within the butter; butters with many crystals are harder than butters dominated by free fats.
Churning produces small butter grains floating in the water-based portion of the cream. This watery liquid is called buttermilk—although the buttermilk most common today is instead a directly fermented skimmed milk. The buttermilk is drained off; sometimes more buttermilk is removed by rinsing the grains with water. Then the grains are "worked": pressed and kneaded together. When prepared manually, this is done using wooden boards called scotch hands. This consolidates the butter into a solid mass and breaks up embedded pockets of buttermilk or water into tiny droplets.
Commercial butter is about 80% butterfat and 15% water; traditionally made butter may have as little as 65% fat and 30% water. Butterfat is a mixture of triglyceride, a triester derived from glycerol and three of any of several fatty acid groups. Butter becomes rancid when these chains break down into smaller components, like butyric acid and diacetyl. The density of butter is 0.911 g/cm3 (0.527 oz/in3), about the same as ice.
In some countries, butter is given a grade before commercial distribution.