U.S. Dairy Products > Butter & Milkfat > Butter & Milkfat Categories
U.S. butter, by law, must contain a minimum of 80% butterfat. While the majority of butter churned in the United States is 80% minimum butterfat, U.S. manufacturers are pleased to churn volumes of both 80% and 82% (European-style) butter and export butters in the 82-85% butterfat range.
Sweet Cream Salted Butter
Sweet cream salted butter is prevalent in the United States as a spread and condiment and is commonly used to provide a smooth, creamy texture to sauces. Made by churning pasteurized fresh cream and adding salt, the final product has at least 80% fat, about 17% water and 1.6-1.7% salt. Aside from adding flavor, the salt also acts as a natural preservative. Sweet cream butter is gluten-free.
Sweet Cream Unsalted Butter
Considered the most versatile type of butter, cooks, bakers and candy makers prize the neutral and delicate flavor of sweet cream unsalted butter. It is perfect for cooking and baking applications as it allows for more control over salt levels in a recipe. The only difference from sweet cream salted butter is that salt is not added to the product.
Cultured (European-Style) Butter
Cultured butter is made from fermented cream or from pasteurized fresh cream with bacterial cultures introduced during production. With a slightly tangy taste, it commonly has a higher fat content (82-85%) than traditional sweet cream butters, along with lower moisture. Recommended for baking because the fat to moisture ratio helps to produce fluffier cakes and pastries. Available in both salted and unsalted versions.
Lighter in texture and less dense than standard butter, whipped butter is sweet cream butter with nitrogen added. The product is spreadable at cool temperatures and has approximately 45% less fat per serving than regular butter. Not recommended for baking or cooking, but great for toppings and spreads.
To make light butter, air and water is incorporated into sweet cream butter. With no more than 40% milkfat, light butter also has fewer calories per serving than traditional butter. Spreadable and useful for melting over hot foods, but not recommended for baking.
*All products excluding light butter can be made with 80-82% fat levels or higher, if desired.