Butter -

As a food dates back to the time of the ancient Jews, but by the Greeks and Romans it was used only as an ointment and even now it is largely sold for that purpose by apothecaries in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean.

The greater part of the butter sold by merchants to-day is that made by creameries and the result of this centralization has been to improve greatly the average quality and to establish uniformity so that varying qualities may be intelligently graded.

By the old-fashioned method, cream for butter making was obtained by allowing the milk to stand from twenty to thirty-six hours, the cream which rose to the top being removed when sufficiently "ripened" or soured.

By the creamery method, the cream is generally separated from the whole milk while it is still sweet by running it through specially designed centrifugal separators. It is then treated by the addition of pasteurized skim milk, previously curdled by the addition of "pure cultures" (see BACTERIA), in order to bring about the lactic fermentation essential to a butter of good flavor. If the churning is to proceed at once, which is preferable, from 20% to 30% of the "starter" is added, but if time is allowed for ripening, an addition of about 5% is sufficient. butter made from separator-cream, untreated, is not "butter" in the true sense of the term - it is better described as an emulsion of butter-fat.

The great majority of the butters of commerce show a water content between 12% and 16%. U. S. "Standard" butter contains not less than 82.5% of milk fat.

Denmark has for years held the reputation of producing the finest butter in the world. It can be found all over the world in shops where luxuries are sold. In South America, in the East and West Indies, in India, Egypt and in tropical countries generally, epicures pay $1.00 a pound for it in tins of one, two and three pounds' weight. No other country has been able to produce butter that will stand changes of climate so well. Its excellence is due to the efficiency of the government system for controlling the output. Almost equally good results are obtained by the regulations of the Cork Market, Ireland, and by government control in New Zealand. Improvements in creamery methods and conditions promise to give equal reputation to the United States product before long.

More than ordinary care is required if a merchant wishes to establish and maintain a reputation for selling good butter. In the first place, it generally pays to buy grades a little choicer than that of the average market - a half cent or a cent a pound additional often means something quite a little choicer than the regular run - and particular customers are seldom averse to paying a cent or two extra for especially fine butter. Whether or not this is done - it is of course not advisable in every neighborhood - it is very poor policy to charge higher than the market value of any grade. Not one person in a thousand can judge the value of coffee, for example, with any degree of accuracy, but a big percentage have keen noses and palates wherewith to discriminate in the matter of butter. It is very easy and very damaging to get a reputation for selling poor butter.

A retailer should know how to test butter both by taste and smell. Many merchants depend on only one or the other of these senses and as a result they often find themselves at fault in their purchases. This is particularly true of the dealer who buys by taste and is addicted to the use of tobacco or liquors. At times, his sense of taste may be keen enough to discriminate in a remarkable manner, but if he has recently been smoking he will find that it cannot be depended upon. Hence it is wisdom to cultivate both taste and smell to a point where, if one fails, the other can be relied upon. The expert buyer generally tests first by smell, breathing it well back into the nose, then by taste and finally by allowing a little to melt in the mouth and letting the flavor expand up through the nostrils - this last test to determine its keeping qualities.

butter to be especially avoided is that which is "lardy," "oily," or "woody" in flavor. It should neither be oily nor "dry" in appearance, nor flecked, cloudy or streaked. There should be no holes or crevices in it - as these enclose moist air and favor fermentation. When broken, it should show a rough fracture - if it breaks smooth, it is deficient in "grain" - which in a majority of cases stands for richness of quality. When pressed, the moisture which exudes should be quite clear - if it is milky, it possesses inferior keeping qualities. The highest prices are paid for butter hand-worked, unsalted and very dry - under 11% moisture.

In buying by tub, it is well to verify the weight of butter obtained, instead of depending only on the classification of the tub as "5 lb.," "10 lb.," etc.

Renovated" or "Process" butter is that produced by working over low grade or slightly deteriorated butter, by first melting and settling it, then skimming off froth and scum and discarding the curd and brine settled, freshening by strong currents of air, mixing in fresh milk inoculated with bacterial cultures, churning and then rapidly cooling. The butter is then drained, salted, worked (to remove the excess of milk) and packed or made into prints. In the hands of a reliable manufacturer, who refrains from using improper materials, the processing of butter is a distinct advantage to the food supply and the product is very similar to "real" butter. As, however, there are differences in the nitrogenous components it should never be sold or represented as fresh. In several states such sales and representations are prohibited by law.

An easy test

to distinguish between fresh butter and "process butter," and also oleomargarine, is to boil a small amount, stirring thoroughly two or three times. Process butter and oleomargarine will boil noisily, sputtering more or less - like a mixture of grease and water - but will produce little or no foam. Genuine butter on the other hand boils with less noise and produces an abundance of foam.

To distinguish between process butter and oleomargarine, melt a sample and note the odor - in process butter (and fresh butter) the "Butyric acid" smell will be very noticeable, but it is absent from oleomargarine, a "meaty" odor taking its place.

butter is now generally classified as creamery, Process, Factory, Packing Stock and Grease butter - defined by the N.Y. Mercantile Exchange as follows:

creamery butter">creamery: - butter made in a creamery from cream separated at the creamery or gathered from farmers.

butter">Process: - butter made by melting butter, clarifying the fat therefrom and re-churning with fresh milk, cream or skim milk, or by other similar process.

butter">Factory: - butter collected in rolls, lumps, or whole packages and reworked by the dealer or shipper.

Stock butter">Packing Stock: - Original farm butter in rolls, lumps or otherwise, without additional moisture or Salt.

Grease butter: - All classes of butter grading below No. 3 Packing Stock.

creamery, Process and Factory Butters are, in the New York market, graded as "Special," "Extra," 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Packing Stock is graded as 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

The very choicest butter is thus creamery Special.

The word "Special" as applied to any of the three mentioned classifications is defined as requiring 90% of the butter so graded to conform to the standard, and the remaining 10% to be fully up to the "Extra" grade, the quality just below "Special."

Following are the Standards of "Special" grades of butter:

Flavor - must be fine, sweet, clean and fresh, if of current make; and fine, sweet and clean, if held.

Body - must be firm and uniform.

Color - a light straw shade, even and uniform.

Salt - medium salted.

Package - sound, good, uniform and clean.

Equally important with proper selection, is the care of butter after it reaches the store. A separate refrigerator should be reserved for it as it readily absorbs the odor of other articles, thereby losing its own delicate flavor and often acquiring a most disagreeable odor and "twang." Meats, cheese and some fruits, as cantaloupes, pineapples, etc., are especially detrimental. The refrigerator must be kept thoroughly clean, as otherwise it will itself spoil the flavor - and pine wood in all forms should be kept away.

In the sale of butter, clerks should be instructed to handle it as carefully as possible. In cutting tub butter, the aim should be to avoid "mussing" or mangling it - a clean cut slab is much more pleasing than when half of it looks like a collection of odds and ends.

Wooden butter dishes are not used as much as formerly, but where they are in favor it is advisable to wrap the butter in waxed paper first. The more popular method now is to wrap in waxed paper, then in ordinary wrapping paper.

If butter is ladled, all the implements used should be scalded at least once a day, and kept in fresh-made brine.

When butter becomes rancid, it is due to the formation of Butyric acid. A fair measure of freshness can be obtained by thoroughly washing it with fresh milk, which readily absorbs Butyric acid, and then with fresh water to remove the milk, so that it will not sour in the butter.

All this care on the part of the retailer is, however, often upset by the customer's lack of care after purchasing. Whenever possible, customers should be advised to keep butter free from contaminating influences. Very few households can enjoy separate refrigerator compartments for butter, but every one can have a covered china or earthenware vessel in which to keep it - then, if the refrigerator is kept scoured and dry and the vessel clean, scalded before use, and always covered, there is a reasonable chance of the butter retaining its purity unless the other articles in the refrigerator have very strong odors.

If a customer has no jar, the best advice is to keep the butter always thoroughly wrapped in the waxed paper in which you deliver it.

A good refrigerator and a plentiful supply of ice are, of course, desirable for keeping butter, but care along the lines mentioned is to so great an extent the essential point, that butter will stay fresh and pure for a reasonable time without either refrigerator or ice if kept in a dry, clean, covered vessel set in a cool place - the butter under such circumstances being preferably kept wrapped in waxed paper inside the vessel. A damp or "musty" room - or its vicinity - should be carefully avoided as that odor has as close an affinity for butter as any other.

Where such advice can be given without offense, it is well worth while imparting it, with a view to avoiding the trouble so frequently caused by customers, generally in perfectly good faith, bringing butter back as "bad" which had left the store in good condition.

The natural color of the best creamery butter throughout the greater part of the year varies from almost white to a delicate light yellow or cream - it is only in the spring when the cows are first turned out to pasture that it naturally presents a really yellow color. The average consumer, however, expects butter to have a good bright color all the year round - and in consequence nearly all butter is brought up to that appearance by the use of various coloring additions. The colors used are chiefly those derived from vegetable sources, as annatto and carrot juice.

In contrast to the general taste, there has developed in the larger cities a considerable demand among the customers of high class stores for un-colored and un-salted butter - variously known as "Fresh," "Sweet" and "French." Some of the French stores of the metropolis and elsewhere have always handled this for their patrons, but the present sale to a large number of families of other nationalities and to many high class hotels and restaurants is of comparatively recent origin.


perfumed butter used in Paris is made by taking pats of "fresh" or unsalted butter and placing them on a layer of some variety of flowers, according to the perfume desired, a piece of muslin being laid between the butter and blossoms. Another layer of flowers is placed above the butter and then ice is added.

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