I've been baking quite a alot over the past few weeks and I was wondering, with all this talk about salted and unsalted butter, does anyone have a favoured brand of butter? Does anyone feel there is a difference between brands?
I know it sounds silly but my house usually gets the Kerry Gold's Butter block, I believe it to be salted. I usually go for the unsalted Avonmore variety but the other day in Tesco I saw the French butter, Président. 250 g for 1.79. Avonmore was 227 g for 1.58..
The Président works out just slightly more expensive than the Avonmore per kg but I found that Président is alot nicer.
I was making scones and when I was cubing the butter there's this lovely sweet smell off the butter. It made a really gorgeous butterscotch like sauce to pour over a pud aswell.
So I was wondering does anyone feel there is a difference between certain good quality brands?
Does anyone every substitute "real butter" with spreads such as Dairygold when they are found stuck for the real stuff?
Do you taste a difference in your baked goods?
Have been looking for another brand of unsalted butter, Tesco used to do one I think but don't think it was any cheaper than Avenmore. I find the unsalted butter pretty expensive because I use a lot but have started to use regular salted butter lately in recipes where you have to go and add a pinch of salt anyway so I think it's all the one really except on things like banoffees where there's a lot of salt in digestives so I find adding salted butter ruins it makes it way too salty.
I have used Dairygold in the past to substitute but I find in things like butter cookies and some cakes that the real butter is best esp. in fairy cakes/cup cakes.
Have started using the Aldi brand of real butter because it's cheaper it has a decent flavour to it it's real Irish butter so same diff. really.
I use margarine (usually Stork) for sponge cakes.
I always use real butter and it's usually Kerrygold. I used to go to the bother of finding/using unsalted for certain recipes but found absolutely no difference in most things. I make my own cheesecake base with ground almonds, so I don't have the salty problem with digestives. Anchor butter has a lovely rich taste but it's not always available.
Lard is great for pastry - even half and half with butter - dripping is also brilliant for savoury stuff. Coconut oil (solid at room temperature here) is another great addition for baking, although it's a bit expensive. Divine taste though.
I've never come across the unsalted Tesco butter, only ever the salted in my local branch.
I've also never used lard in my pastry. Only butter! I don't know why I'm so put off by it, it's ment to be really amazing. Does it give the pastry a more flakey/crumbley texture or just a better taste?
My mother told me a few weeks ago that if a recipe calls for unsalted butter and a pinch of salt, if the unsalted wasn't around to just leave out the pinch of salt so that would make sense.
Is there any particular reason margerine is used for sponge cakes over butter? My mother only ever uses margerine for her sponges but she also uses it in her cupcakes and they turn out really lovely
I was using some more of that Presidént butter today.. ADDICTED
I only like real butter, don't know how people can stomach margarine and spreads. The Président butter is lovely, I think it's only lightly salted and that's why it's so nice. For toast Kerrygold, the Tesco Organic butter or Président are my favourites, but I usually use the Aldi, Dunnes or Tesco own brand ones for baking as they're cheaper.
I normally use salted butter for baking and just leave out the salt, but if it's a recipe where there is no salt I'll use the Avenmore unsalted butter. Marks do an unsalted butter too, but I don't think it's very nice.
The main reasons for using unsalted instead of salted butter are that brands of salted butter have varying amounts of salt added, so there's no standard amount. Using unsalted butter eliminates the risk of adding too much salt to a recipe.
Also, using salted butter in some recipes adds too much salt, as Sigma Force said for example, in cheesecake/banoffee bases, when you're using already salty biscuits. In applications like buttercreams as well, where you're using a lot of butter, salted butter can ruin the taste.
Unsalted butter can be tasted to test if it's fresh, whereas salted can easily mask off flavours. Butter in Ireland is typically 82% butter fat, 16% water and 2% salt/milk solids. The amount of butterfat has an effect on the recipe. Anything 82% or over is good in baking application.
Président is an excellent brand of unsalted butter. I used to use Avonmore until I discovered it. Dairy spreads don't work the same way in baking when used instead of butter; the ingredients, composition and texture are completely different, so shouldn't be used.
And the reason margarine is better than butter for sponges is that when using the creaming method (blending fat and sugar until light and creamy) margarine works best, giving the best texture over butter. A 50/50 blend of margarine/butter also works, to get the structural benefits from the margarine and the flavour from the butter.
Some will use marg as its cheaper too, I remember my mother going mental at the thought of me "wasting" butter on a cake.
In things like pound cakes and Madeira, where there are so few ingredients that they've no-where to hide, using butter for its superior flavour over margarine is ideal.
Whereas in some sponges where you're adding extra flavours, e.g. jam and cream in victoria sandwich cake, having a prominent butter taste can drown out those other flavours. A nice "neutral" flavour from using margarine is best in this instance. Also, margarine gives a finer, more absorbent crumb, which is useful if you intend using a cake soaking syrup.
I find butter pastry very heavy and too strongly flavoured. Too much like shortbread.
Half and half stork and block vegetable fat is beautifully light and delicate.
Has anybody used other stuff like veg oil you would usually fry with, I notice most commercial cakes or biscuits will have veg oil.
I was also wondering about coconut oil, many people in the nutrition & diet forum are looking for ways to eat the oil as it is regarded as very healthy by some. I have used it in batter in a waffle maker before.
You can get light olive oil which has less flavour than most standard veg oils for frying.
We have loads of veg oil in my house. Mum makes cupcakes and sponges with it, always really light. I didn't realise it wasn't usual to use oil with cakes.. Is it?
I have some recipes that use groundnut oil, sunflower oil or rapeseed oil, as mentioned they make a lovely moist cake, yum.
I use sunflower oil in banana breads and they always turn out nummy.
Have a thing about veg oil though dunno why always picture a heart attack on the bottle which is silly when butter is probably as unhealthy but then again all that goes out the window when baking and veg oil can improve a recipe (and roast spuds).
Must look out for other brands of unsalted butter even lidl and aldi near us don't sell it which is a bummer.
Oil is used as a tenderiser and moistener in cakes. Examples are chiffon cake, muffins, carrot cake. The texture for these goods is dense and coarse as oil can't trap air the same way butter can, yet oil makes cakes much moister than (unmelted) butter.