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The main manufacturing processes to produce butter

8 July 2016

Butter is produced through a phase inversion of an emulsion. The cream is indeed an emulsion of fat in water, as a result butter is an emulsion of water in fat.

  • Traditional technique lactic butter:
    • Long biological and physical maturing process for the cream after addition of lactic ferments.
    • Constant churning (buttermaking machines or in churns).
  • The main advantage of this technique is to improve organoleptic properties.

The drawback is a difficulty to use acid buttermilk and to control fat crystallisation.

  • NIZO technique:
    • Short physical maturing process without cream acidification.
    • Ferments are added after churning directly in the butter.
  • The advantage is a better parameter control especially crystallisation.

The drawbacks are lower organoleptic qualities.

In continental Europe, we eat and use lactic butter (with an acid pH and a characteristic tangy taste). People from Great Britain usually prefer sweet cream butter (with a neutral pH and a creamy taste). The technique to obtain the latter is a physical maturation without addition of ferments .

Several types of butter may be manufactured thanks to these various techniques. The butters have then the following differences:

  • Fat content:
    • Lactic butter / sweet cream butter: 82% fat
    • Lightened butter: between 60% and 62% fat, the cream is pasteurised beforehand
    • Light butter or half butter: between 39% and 41% fat, the cream is pasteurised beforehand.
  • Salt content:
    • Salted butter: salt content is usually above 3%.
    • Semi-salted butter: Salt content is usually between 0.8% and 3%.
  • Manufacturing process:
    • Churned butter
    • NIZO butter
  • Quality designation:
    • Butter with origin labelling: AOP butter (Protected Designation of Origin), AOC butter (Controlled Designation of Origin), organic farming.

One product may bear several designations, for instance a lightened butter may be salted.

Click here to discover the various industrial butters offered by FIT.