6 genius ways to upgrade your cooking with butter

Butter, with its creamy texture and rich flavour, is a staple in many kitchens. Picture: Pexels/Felicity Tai

Butter, with its creamy texture and rich flavour, is a staple in many kitchens. Picture: Pexels/Felicity Tai

Published Mar 7, 2024

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Butter has come back into fashion again after years of being touted as unhealthy. As with everything, using it in moderation is the trick.

Butter, with its creamy texture and rich flavour, is a staple in many kitchens.

Its naturally sweet essence complements many foods but even I have admit that it is not perfect for every use.

It has a low smoke point and for some techniques, you need an oil that can handle higher temperatures. But for other cooking and baking methods, there is no doubt – butter is best.

Here are a few ways to use butter that you may have never considered before.

Melt some butter, and add it to your pancake mix before cooking your pancakes. Picture: Pexels/Monstera Production

Add a little melted butter to your pancake batter

Melt some butter and add it to your pancake mix before cooking them. It makes the mixture extra buttery and stops pancakes sticking to the pan.

Add cold butter to pan sauces

​Swirling a tablespoon or two of cold butter into a pan sauce right before serving adds both richness and body. Pull the pan off the heat and add at least one tablespoon of cold butter.

To make sure your sauce is thick and glossy, you need to create an emulsion. Swirl or whisk in the butter, returning the pan briefly to the heat, if necessary, to help it melt.

If you want to thicken and enrich the sauce even more, add more butter, one tablespoon at a time, letting it melt and emulsify between each addition; this gradual process of adding the butter is called mounting.

Try finishing your pasta with butter. Picture: Pexels/Engin Akyurt

Try finishing your pasta with butter

Next time you cook pasta, save some cooking water from the pot when you drain the pasta. Then, add your pasta, the extra water and some small pieces of butter to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes.

Make a butter board

Yes, this trend has come and gone but that is no reason to miss out on the bliss of a board full of butter. Think cheese or charcuterie board, but just – butter!

As the name suggests, it involves a board of softened butter – perfect for dipping bread into – sprinkled with accompaniments of your choosing.

While it is generally recommended to replace saturated fats with unsaturated options, butter happens to be one of the most flavourful ways of absorbing more nutrients from your veggies. Picture: Pexels/Mi Butter Sa

Butter your veggies to absorb more nutrients

Vegetables pack many necessary nutrients composed of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), minerals (calcium, potassium and zinc) and carotenoids (responsible for pigments in fruits and vegetables that convert to Vitamin A).

The tricky part about eating vegetables is that our bodies often need help to absorb their benefits. A surprising nutrient booster, and a great tip for cooking veggies, is to add fat.

Health experts have found that adding fat, even saturated fat, helps with the absorption process of fat-soluble vitamins.

While it is generally recommended to replace saturated fats with unsaturated options, butter happens to be one of the most flavourful ways of absorbing more nutrients from your veggies.

As with everything, moderation is key.

For creamy mashed potatoes, add butter before dairy

​If the dairy is stirred into the hot, cooked potatoes before the butter, the water in the dairy will combine with the potatoes’ starch, making them sticky. If you add the butter first, you get smoother, creamier mashed potatoes.

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