The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 07: April 12, 2002: Page 3
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      Advice Lady         

A well-known low-carber in the community answers your questions about everything from nutrition to family issues, stress, and heck — even your love life. She's been the "go to gal" for awhile now when people need a little advice. And who is she? Well, we're not telling. She remains anonymous so that she can better give very frank advice. She doesn't pull any punches. You can remain anonymous too if you want — Just think "Dear Abby" — you know, signing off like "Harried in the Workplace" or "Desperate for Carbs in Detroit". Send in your question to The Advice Lady at advicelady@lowcarbluxury.com.


                                         Better to Use Butter...

Dear Advice Lady,

For many years I used only margarine in cooking. For a long time it was because I was told it was "healthier". Then I used it for the low-fat versions and because I believed I could eat no saturated fats. Now that I cook low carb, have read Atkins books, plus things at the Low Carb Luxury site (and other sites) I see that the transfat in margarine is pretty bad and I need to go back to real butter.

This may seem like a stupid thing to say, but I am not sure what the differences are when cooking. And should I use salted or unsalted when a recipe just says "butter"?

Help!

      Embarassingly Butter-Fingers


Dear Butter-Fingers —

Butter If you haven't had real butter in awhile, you have such a treat awaiting. There's nothing quite like the sweet richness of real dairy butter.

Butter is a natural dairy product made by churning or shaking cream until it reaches a semisolid state. Margarine is made from a single oil, or blend of oils, sometimes including animal and vegetable fats. In order to make it more solid and "act" like butter (either in spreadable form or solid stick), margarine must be hydrogenated making it a transfat. Transfats are known to raise triglyceride levels, have been implicated in cancer growth, and in the case of low-carbers, are known to hinder weight loss in many individuals.

You are right that there are differences to keep in mind when cooking.

First, butter burns more easily than margarine. Butter has a narrow melting range, 82.4°F to 96.8°F, so it will melt quickly even at low temperatures. To avoid burning, melt butter on low temperature settings and watch carefully. For high heat applications, you might want to consider
clarified butter.

clarified butter Clarified butter is a purified, thicker form of butter that's been melted and has had the water and milk solids separated from the clarified or clear part. Because the water has been extracted, clarified butter will not spatter when it cooks, and because the milk solids have been removed, it will not burn at high temperatures, and therefore is most commonly used as a fat for cooking, or as a base for sauces like Hollandaise and Béarnaise (see recipe section.)

You can buy clarified butter in better groceries and specialty stores, or you can make it yourself. To make one pound of clarified butter, you will need about 1 1/4 lbs. of unsalted butter. Melt butter over moderate heat. Stir butter but don’t let it boil; this allows the milk solids to separate from the liquid butter. Upon heating, butter will separate into three distinct layers: foamy milk solids on top, clarified butter in the middle and milk solids on the bottom. As the butter continues to warm, skim froth from the surface and discard. When froth is eliminated, carefully pour off clear, melted clarified butter into another container, leaving the milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan. Discard milk solids. Clarified butter can be used immediately or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three or four weeks. Re-melt to use.

Butter For standard baking applications, regular butter works great. There is a difference in salted and unsalted butter. Salt acts as a preservative and adds flavor to butter. Lightly salted butter is sometimes called "sweet cream butter," and is best used as a table butter and for general cooking needs. Unsalted butter, too, is "sweet butter," but is used mainly for baking. Although unsalted and salted butter may be specifically recommended for cooking or baking particular items, they can generally be substituted for one another.

Enjoy the richness real butter brings!

                                                                             The Advice Lady






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