The Versatility and Benefits of Powdered Butter
What is Powdered Butter?
Powdered butter is made by removing moisture from regular butter, resulting in a convenient powdered form. This process involves melting the butter and separating the butter oil from other components using a centrifuge. The butter oil is then mixed with emulsifiers like nonfat milk powder or maltodextrin to create the powder.
As a Substitute for Traditional Butter
Powdered butter can substitute for traditional butter in recipes. It enhances both sweet and savory dishes with a rich, creamy flavor. It’s particularly useful for sauces, dressings, and desserts, and can even be used in baking for flaky pastries and moist cakes.
Reconstituting powdered butter is straightforward, usually involving a mixture of one part powdered butter to two parts warm water. This mixture can then be used similarly to regular butter.
Beyond being a spread or baking ingredient, powdered butter can be sprinkled over popcorn or mixed into smoothies for added richness. It can also be used in coffee to add a creamy and buttery flavor.
When baking, adding powdered butter to dry ingredients helps distribute fat evenly, resulting in tender, moist, and flavorful baked goods. It also improves the texture, making cakes and cookies more tender and crumbly.
Powdered butter offers a different nutritional profile compared to regular butter. A tablespoon of reconstituted butter powder contains only 35 calories, significantly lower than the 100 calories found in regular butter. This difference is largely due to the milk solids present in powdered butter.
Shelf Life and Storage
Powdered butter boasts a longer shelf life than regular butter and doesn’t require refrigeration, making it a convenient choice for bakers, campers, and emergency preppers. Its best-by date usually spans one to two years post-manufacturing, but with proper storage methods, it can last up to 10 years without going rancid. Key storage tips include keeping it cool, using airtight containers, and removing oxygen.
Limitations in Cooking
While versatile, powdered butter has limitations. It doesn’t melt like regular butter and isn’t suitable for sautéing or melting on top of hot vegetables. It's most effective in baked goods, as a spread, mixed into wet foods like mashed potatoes, or sprinkled on popcorn.
Powdered butter is a multifaceted ingredient that offers convenience, a unique flavor profile, and long-term storage benefits. While it can’t completely replace regular butter in all culinary applications, its uses in baking, as a spread, and in enhancing flavors of various dishes and drinks make it a valuable addition to the kitchen. Its lower calorie content compared to regular butter also makes it a more diet-friendly option.