Two Kinds of Butter Are Needed in the Kitchen

A functioning kitchen is a well-stocked kitchen, and a well-stocked kitchen has two types of oils: cooking oil and snack oil.

Making butter that you bake, fry, or sauté should be very cheap. Generic is great. It’s not me – the scavenger – baking queen Stella Parks is also a big fan of cheap baked goods and you know, she knows what is going on. In fact, if you’re not careful, trying to come up with baking butter can ruin you . Cooking oil can be salted or unsalted, depending on your preference. (Some people avoid salty butter because of its sometimes higher and unpredictable water content, but these cookies make a strong argument for salinity.) The subtler taste is more likely to be overpowered by what you cook or bake. Cooking oil should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer , depending on how much you buy at a time.

Butter is a completely different story. Butter for snacks is kept at room temperature , preferably in a French churn, to keep it soft, easy to spread and skinless. Butter is used to spread on very good breads, breakfast radishes, and cheese crackers (if you haven’t tried this combination yet, use it immediately). This butter is eaten almost like cheese – uncooled and in large quantities. This does not require a delivery system, although social norms suggest otherwise. Butter for appetizers is ideally cultured and then churned slowly for a fatty, creamy, pungent flavor. Irish butter is also a good choice. Although not usually farmed, it has a higher fat content and a cheerful yellow hue thanks to (usually) milk from grass-fed cows.

If keeping two types of oil seems to be a little good for your blood, think about it: instead of compromising and buying an intermediate oil that works, but not very well, for both roles, you are buying two different products with two different functions. Just buy the cheapest cooking oil from the grocery store and then reward your frugality with some fancy butter. I am not a financial expert, but it seems reasonable to me.


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