Two cooking fats most folks have in their homes is butter and olive oil. It's often believed that the two can be used interchangeably, however, this is a popular misconception.
And it simply comes down to the fact that these are two wildly different product. In fact, one is made from fruit while the other is a dairy product. So while they might both be cooking fats they should be treated as completely different products.
In this guide we are diving into when, how, and why to use olive oil vs butter.
What is butter?
Butter is a dairy product made from the fat and proteins found in dairy milk. It's typically produced from cow's milk, although it can also be made from the milk of other animals such as goats, sheep, and buffalo. The process of making it involves churning milk or cream, which separates the fat from the liquid. The fat is then collected and processed to create butter.
Fresh butter has an incredibly rich and creamy texture with a distinctive and slightly salty flavor. It can be clarified to create ghee, which is used in many Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a cooking fat made from the olive fruit. It's produced by harvesting the fruit in the fall and then milling it. During this process the fruit goes is smashed or sliced before entering a centrifuge and eventually a filter.
There are different qualities of the product including regular, virgin, and extra virgin. You can cook will all three products, however, extra virgin is the highest quality and offers the most health benefits. Learn more about the differences between each quality here.
Related: How to Cook with OO
When to use olive oil vs butter
Both are cooking fats that offer incredible flavor. However, they have differing ideal uses so it's important to clarify when to use each product.
In short, butter is better for making fluffy baked goods such as cakes while olive oil is better for everyday cooking and making dense sweets.
Typically, butter is much better for baking than due to the higher water content. This means it evaporate faster and help sweets like banana bread and chocolate cake rise faster. In general it's great for making sweets that need to rise. This includes foods like pancakes. However, since it has a higher water content sweets can dry out faster.
In comparison, olive oil has over 40x less water content than butter. This means it doesn't evaporate or allow for much rising when making sweets such as cakes, breads, and cookies.
Therefore, it's not always the best option when baking sweets that need to rise a lot. However, it's amazing at keeping sweets moist and lending a fudge texture. It's best used for making decadent, rich, and fudgy desserts such as brownies! Speaking of brownies, find a delicious recipe in our cookbook, The Olive Oil Enthusiast!
Impact on your health
It's important for consumers to be mindful of their fat intake and this includes understanding the type of fat we're consuming.
Butter is high in saturated fat and calories, therefore, it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. There are also dairy-free alternatives to butter available for individuals who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet.
Meanwhile olive oil rich in monosaturated fats and antioxidants such as polyphenols. With regular consumption it's been proven to help lower blood pressure and prevent obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
While it's fine to consume butter in moderation, for daily consumption olive oil is a better choice.
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