Is Butter Better?

29 Aug

One of my regular cake consumers (ok, my elder son) recently asked me why I tend to use Stork in my baking rather than butter. I mention Stork by name, because I do prefer it to other types of spreads and manufactured butter substitutes – those things that used to be called ‘margarine’ and are now called almost anything except margarine. There are many reasons why one would use it in baking – it creams really well, is cost effective and being a vegetable-based product is suitable for vegans as well as people concerned about cholesterol. Being vegetable-based such products contain no cholesterol at all whereas 100g of butter contains 178 mg of cholesterol.

Recently I’ve become more aware of the additives in certain products and am trying to bake as organically and free-rangeically as possible, so the latest efforts are made using organic butter from grass-fed cows. I always use organic, free-range eggs because I keep a little flock of three beautiful hens (and a bantam cock) and they generously provide me with eggs, though only three a day, so I augment the supply with eggs from a nearby farm.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t taste a difference between cakes made with butter and those made with Stork! The same cannot be said for pastry where cold butter is essential, but creamed batters – meh! They taste just as yumscious with either. I need to settle this taste issue scientifically, so next weekend I plan to do a blind taste test. I’ll bake two identical cakes, one with Stork and one with the most freely-ranging, organic, grass-fed butter I can buy and then I’ll ask the assembled cakefans to deliver their verdict. Watch this space for the results.

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4 Responses to “Is Butter Better?”

  1. jennypottery August 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I am more than happy to be a cake-taste-test volunteer! Looking forward to it.

  2. Edyth Miles August 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Thank you for your selfless offer. I know how difficult it will be for you 😉

  3. Andrew August 30, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I look forward to being a cake-tester!

    Two things though;
    1. Cholesterol is not a bad thing. The brain is mainly composed of cholesterol, and we need it to survive and create various hormones. The idea that cholesterol in the diet leads to cholesterol in the blood (and thus heart-disease) is old and doesn’t bare up to the scrutiny of the latest research.

    There are also various kinds of cholesterol, and some we want more of not less, so it is not as simple as saying “cholesterol = bad”.

    So you should PREFER butter because of the cholesterol.

    2. Grass fed is important because the ratio of omega 3s is as it should be, meaning reduced inflammation and better health in those who eat it.

    Vegetable spreads and oils contain generally the wrong fats, in the wrong ratios and are horrible for your health.

    As for taste, well we shall see!

  4. Edyth Miles August 30, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Thanks for your helpful comments. I knew I could rely on you to come up with the sciencey stuff.

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