Is fat the same? Not quite. Butter is an important ingredient in some recipes – mainly because of the taste. Those who can do without the butter note will find some alternatives for cooking and baking in times of rising butter prices.
If you want to work in the kitchen without the animal fat spread due to the rising butter prices, you can fall back on various alternatives. In almost all cases, especially when baking, butter can be replaced one-to-one with the often cheaper margarine.
Butter alternatives do not have to be expensive, as the Stiftung Warentest determined in the summer. Out of 19 full-fat margarines and spreadable fats that were examined for the magazine “test” (issue 08/2017), 8 received the grade “good”. In addition to the more expensive test winner Deli Reform, they also included inexpensive margarines from retail chains, which at the time of the test were available in 500-gram cups for 75 cents.
It is more difficult, however, with biscuits where the butter note dominates – for example shortbread biscuits, where the name indicates the importance of butter in the recipe. “That makes a big difference in taste,” says top chef Sascha Stemberg in Velbert near Wuppertal.
If you like it lower in fat, you can do without butter or margarine at least with sponge cake. The specified amount of fat can be replaced with applesauce or a mashed banana – but you can often taste it clearly. A little neutral vegetable oil then ensures that the cake gets its characteristic consistency.
Stemberg also uses oils instead of butter when frying fish, crustaceans or meat. “I always use olive oil for fish and crustaceans,” says Stemberg, who is also a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs, an association of young top chefs.
Oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil are also available in inexpensive variants in the supermarket. If meat is in the pan, Stemberg uses a tasteless rapeseed or sunflower oil, also for vegetables. At the end of the day, butter would only add the finishing touches to taste.
At the beginning of September, the discounters Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd and Lidl raised the price of butter to 1.99 euros for a 250-gram pack. According to the dairy industry association, the entry price has climbed to the highest level in at least 50 years.
Why has the butter price risen so much?
It’s actually very simple: “There is currently not enough supply to meet demand,” says Andreas Gorn, milk market expert from Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbh (AMI). Recently, there was less milk available, and therefore less fat. In addition, the fat content was sometimes below average.
“Less milk plus less milk fat is one of the building blocks,” says Björn Börgermann from the Dairy Industry Association. And the other? «There are no more” mountains of butter “in the EU.” The stores are empty, the supplies run out. In view of the expensive butter, food prices have recently been an important driver of inflation.
Velbert (dpa / tmn)