Butter is probably the most flavourful of fats, and it makes everything from cakes to curries just taste fabulous.
Butter is made by churning milk or cream. Although the butter we usually eat is made from cow’s milk, it can be made from the milks from yaks, goats, sheep and buffalo.
Milk and cream have butterfat in microscopic globules. These globules are contained within membranes made of phospholipids and proteins. These membranes break during the churning, and the butterfat gets separated from the buttermilk and come together to form butter.
The yellow colour of butter can vary depending on the diets of the animals from which the milk was acquired. The yellow pigment or beta carotene is naturally found in grass. And for example when a cow eats the grass, the yellow pigment is stored in its fat and then gets transferred to its milk. Butter is around 80 percent fat, so while the milk looks white due to the amount of water, the yellow colour becomes more evident when it turns into butter.
People say butter was probably created by accident. There was some milk in a sack on the back of an animal travelling on uneven terrain. All that shaking about caused the butterfat to come together. Then this method of preserving the nutrients in milk by making butter caught on with folks who lived and travelled with livestock.
Butter is an ancient creation. A Sumerian tablet from ancient Mesopotamia that dates back to 2,500 BCE illustrates the making of butter. And butter was commonly used throughout Northern Europe during the Middle Ages. The Arab tradition of churning butter in goatskin that’s suspended and swung is still practiced today.
While the origins of butter are tied to ancient civilizations, in the modern day, butter is an unreplaceable component of people’s diets all over the world.