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Baking with Butter v Margarine

Last post Jan 14, 2014 2:42 AM by tawny77 . 27 replies.


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  • Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Can anyone tell me if there is a big difference in baking cookies with margarine vs butter?  I know that margarine will cause the cookies to spread a little more - but it seems as though margarine gives some cookies more flavor - or is it just me?  I found an old cookbook from 1989 that I used to make a recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - these cookies are sooo good - they are slightly crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside.  Well - when I read the recipe, I noticed that it said 1/2c margarine or butter - usually the first recommended choice says butter...back in the day, I used margarine because I was young and my mother never bought real butter...so I'm wondering if I change and use butter this time - will it still taste the way I remember it?  Or does the butter make a big difference in flavor?

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

     Why don't you try it and see for yourself, rather than relying on the opinion of others ??

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    Marilyn

  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Look, I have read these boards for years about how one makes the cookies flat or whatever, and in personal experience, I can find no actual evidence to support one or the other.  Cookies made with butter or margarine basically come out the same, as far as I can tell.  Sometimes you get flat cookies, and sometimes they puff up, but from everything I've experienced, it happens no matter what you use.  As far as affecting the flavor, no, I don't think anyone has ever been able to tell whether my cookie dough had butter or margarine, nor do I think they cared.  It's cookies.  Everybody loves cookies.

     

     

    False

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    "Why, yes.  Yes, I AM a Field Editor for Taste of Home."


  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Here comes a response from a "health nut".

    In my opinion, butter is going to be better all around. Margarine was hyped for several years being touted as somehow being more nutritious or something like that, adding that butter only added calories and fat and (e-gads!) cholesterol.  This was primarily promoted by companies that made margarine or profited by marketing it.

    Centuries of experience with using butter, and even studying the cultures of the world today where butter is still largely used will tell you quite a different story.

    But I won't get into it more deeply than this.

    So, in short, my kitchen "mantra" is basically, the fewer ingredients, the better. And butter is a very simple item.  Butter will provide you with a richer taste.  There are some items that are better made with shortening.  (I've tried pie crusts, for example, with butter, and this just doesn't work. . . . .)  But I, personally, think and have found butter to be the best alternative. I would avoid margarine (as well as any "butter-flavored" product).

    Now, just a "PS" as far as baking with butter- baked goods are always best done with unsalted butter.

    Hope this helps you!

    -Cathy

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    cg_lem
    Now, just a "PS" as far as baking with butter- baked goods are always best done with unsalted butter.

     

    Please tll me:  why do recipes call for unsalted butter and also for an additional  1/2 (or more)   teaspon of salt?

    Doesn't make sense to me.


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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    To me butter just tastes better in baked goods. Now I have another reason for sticking with real butter, I am sensitive  to artificial butter favorings. I usually end up very itchy if i eat them and/or endup with bumps under my skin that are hard and hurt some.

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    I agree that butter has a better flavor, and yes butter or margarine will cause cookies to come out somewhat flat.  Depends too on what you want going into your food.  I have always used butter: it has 2 ingredients (cream,salt) look at a margarine container and see the list of artificial ingredients.

    Good luck!

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    Jacki

  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Motorhomegal, I don't know if you meant it to sound rude but I feel your comment was rude to ritkar 2.  She was just asking to get other peoples comments of course she can try it herself but she wanted others opinions.

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

     From a health perspective, butter is waaay better than margarine. This may be different to how it is marketed, but margarine is far more processed, and is worse for you because of this. Butter is more natural and our bodies can deal with it better.

     It's the same with many products... I'll take Pepsi for example. Pepsi isn't healthy, but compared to Pepsi Zero, marketed as the 'healthy option' with 0 calories... the only reason there are 0 calories is because there isn't any energy in all those chemicals they're pouring in.

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine
    Recipes call for unsalted butter BECAUSE you are adding salt later in the recipe. The bonus to using unsalted butter is that you have complete control over how much salt is in your finished dish. As far as I know, that's the only reason why.
    False

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    So you can control the amount of salt in your dish.  Different types of butter have different amounts of salt as well as fat content.  European butter has a higher fat content so you get a richer taste from it than american butter.  Almost all recipes in older times were made with homemade butter which rarely has salt.  Salt is very important in enhancing taste in sweets.  You dont need much.  If you use salted butter, just do not add salt.

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Butter is always better than margarine in any recipe.  Margarine is one step away from plastic in its creation.  Butter (salted most of the time) will always give your baked goods better flavor.  Also, melted butter vs. softned in a cookie recipe will keep the cookies soft vs. crispy - if soft cookies are your goal.

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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    Txnkel
    Margarine is one step away from plastic in its creation.

    Without wanting to spark a huge debate, I hope to god you don't actually believe this old wives tale.  Eliminating the fact that, chemically, the statement is just plain wrong, the other fact is that EVERYTHING is just "one step" away from something else.  It's like saying that water is just one step away from two explosive gasses (remove one hydrogen molecule, and that's what you get), or one step away from rocket propellant (add an oxygen molecule and you get hydrogen peroxide).  The statement is meaningless.

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    I don't often get asked to define irony, but when I do, I always say,

    "Why, yes.  Yes, I AM a Field Editor for Taste of Home."


  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    AHagstrom

    So you can control the amount of salt in your dish.  Different types of butter have different amounts of salt as well as fat content.  European butter has a higher fat content so you get a richer taste from it than american butter.  Almost all recipes in older times were made with homemade butter which rarely has salt.  Salt is very important in enhancing taste in sweets.  You dont need much.  If you use salted butter, just do not add salt.

    Having been born(1927)  and raised in a family bakery in Germany I know that European butter is better than American butter. In the 1930s, until the war started my father used to buy butter and eggs from Hessian farmer's wives who came to town in their native costumes every Monday (by train) to sell fresh home made butter and fresh eggs.

    When a recipe calls for unsalted butter and NO extra salt I use unsalted butter (for puff pastry and German butte-cream) But when a recipe calls for unsalted butter and salt I just use regular butter. Living in a small (pop 12300) farming/ranching town in the sw corner of ND our two small grocery stores don't have much of a selection. The only larger grocery store and a Walmart are in a town of 16000 people and a 150+ mile round trip away. With today's gas prices very few people make those trips unless they have more than groceries to get.

    I gave up baking cookies many years ago, too much fuss and bother. I am mainly a bread baker: only  around holidays  do I bake cakes to give away as gifts. Nobody has ever complained about my cakes, even though they were made with salted butter but NO additional salt.


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  • Re: Baking with Butter v Margarine

    The truth about salted and unsalted butter is that unsalted butter is made with fresher cream and unadulterated flavored milk. Salt acts as a preservative and also can mask off flavors in the milk from what the cows eat. Wild onions in the pasture reek havoc with the dairies. Cows love to eat them and the flavor is carried in the milk. There are no preservatives in unsalted butter, so the shelf life is shorter than salted. I always buy unsalted butter and add salt if I feel the need, even to my toast.

    Just something to think about when you puchase butter. And by the way, butter freezes very well.

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