Butter is one of the most digestible forms of fat. An ounce of butter a day is a fair allowance for each person when meats, lard, olive oil, and cream are used. To test this in your own case, divide one ounce of butter in three portions, one for each meal, and see whether you naturally use less or want more. Or, this may be tried in a family by shaping a portion of butter into balls with butter paddles and noting the amount consumed by each person at the table. An ounce of butter is easily secured by cutting a quarter pound pat into quarters. Or, if that is not available, measure the butter. Two level or one round table-spoonful is equivalent to one ounce. A pound of butter will measure one pint.
Butter is probably rendered slower of digestion by cooking, and for this reason it is wiser to flavor foods with it after they are cooked. Often it is better to allow the individual eater to butter the broiled meat, or fish, or mashed vegetables, according to his own taste. Then there need be no waste if a portion of the whole dish is not eaten, and if the food is reheated the flavor is better.
In one dietary study of the Department of Agriculture of the United States (Bulletin 75 from the office of Experiment Station), so much butter came back in the platters where it had been poured over steaks, chops, and fish, that it was assumed that none was consumed. Certainly, in every household considerable butter and other valuable fat finds its way to the dish water. One of the first steps in the application of science to housekeeping is to stop such needless waste.
In a glass measure cup, or a tumbler, put a quarter of a pound of butter, set the glass in a pan of warm water and leave until the butter melts.
Estimate the percentage of clear fat.
What other substances appear to be present?
How does this explain the sour and cheesy tastes sometimes noticed in butter?
Milk thickened by flour and made richer with butter and flavored, is known as milk gravy, drawn butter, or white, or cream sauce. It is a substantial food in itself and forms a valuable addition to fish, eggs, meats, and vegetables. By its addition a small portion of any food substance is extended and made to do more service, and flavors too pronounced to be agreeable to all are much modified.
There are several ways of compounding this sauce which apply to other sauces in which butter is the principal ingredient. A general formula covering the ordinary sauces - white, tomato, and brown - is this : one ounce of butter, one-half ounce of flour, and one-half pint of liquid; or, to express the same quantities in other terms, two level tablespoons of butter, the same of flour, and one cup of liquid.
Composition of Butter
Individual Shortcakes to be Served with Whipped Cretin
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the dry flour, cook and stir until frothy all over, then draw to a cooler part of the stove and stir while adding the liquid hot or cold, then cook again till thick, stirring till smooth.
2. Another way is to rub butter and flour together and stir into the warm liquid in a double boiler, then stir till thick and smooth.
3. When thin cream is substituted for butter and milk, or when less butter is to be used, rub the flour smoothly with a little cold liquid and stir into the remainder, which should be hot, and cook over water until smooth. Then add butter and season.
The theory of the" first method is that the butter attains a slightly higher temperature than the milk and if the flour is combined with the hot butter it is cooked more quickly and thoroughly than when put into milk.
In the second case, longer time is required, but the flavor of the butter is changed less than by the first method.
The third way is more economical of butter.
Butter is also used for brown sauces. These are made after the first plan for the white sauce, but the butter is allowed to brown before the flour is put in, and is cooked until a reddish brown hue is acquired before the liquid, which is usually brown meat stock, is added.
Methods of Making
In many other sauces the plan is similar to that followed in making the white sauce, but meat stock, strained tomato, or other vegetable stocks, are used in place of part or all of the milk.
These sauces are the foundation of many entrees or made dishes, such as croquettes and souffles.
For meat or fish croquettes the sauce is made of a double thickness by using only half as much liquid. It is then combined with about an equal quantity of meat, seasoned and cooled, when the mixture may be shaped. Souffles have the sauce as the basis and the puffy effect is produced by eggs.
The usual white sauce, combined with an equal quantity of meat, fish or vegetable stock, gives us the cream soup, cream of chicken, cream of cod, cream of asparagus, etc., etc.
Since butter is not pure fat but contains water and curd, it is less desirable than other fats for greasing pans unless it is melted and the fat used alone.
Except in cases when it is necessary to brown something quickly, butter should not be used for frying or or sauteing. It is too expensive and burns easily. Because of the quantity of milk, often sour, contained in butter, it is not strange that some recipes for rich cake call for small quantities of soda to balance this acidity. For such purposes, butter is frequently washed to remove milk and salt.
That butter responds quickly to changes of temperature should be remembered in mixing any dough, like pastry, when a large proportion of butter is used.
Slightly rancid butter may be made usable for some purposes by scalding it in water, then chilling and removing the cake of fat on top. If further treatment is necessary the fat alone may be heated with bits of charcoal.