Ingredients Series: Butter vs Margarine

This is the third installment of the Ingredient Series. If you missed the first two you can find them here - Flour post & Sugar post. Today we're talking about butter vs. margarine. What is the difference anyway? Let's start with butter and what it does. Simply put, it's the fat that "softens" the gluten in your recipe. This simply means it helps your baked good's texture by making sure it's not tough but instead, tender. But obviously butter is also there for flavor and often, with the aid of sugar, helping create an airy and fluffy batter. Now let's move on to margarine. The main difference between margarine and butter is that margarine contains less fats (in the form of trans fats) and more water. And if you're wondering if this will affect your baking, the answer is a HELL YES! Think about it. If you're adding more water to a recipe, it's obviously going to come out differently. From thinner cake batters (which then affects the structure and mouthfeel) to cookies that spread out more. When it comes to baking, please stick with butter! Salted vs. Unsalted Butter - Here's the thing. A lot of recipes call for unsalted butter. And the reason for that is because then, YOU, as the baker, control how much salt goes into the recipe. But if we can be honest, I almost never use unsalted butter. When I write recipes I usually just decrease the amount of salt in the recipe to accommodate the salted butter. Why? Because you're more likely to already have salted butter in your fridge or freezer and this means you're one step closer to baking. I hate having to buy a pound of unsalted butter and use only a little and have no other need for the rest. That being said, if the recipe you're using calls for unsalted butter, it's your call as to if you want to follow that or not. I have, pretty much every time, used salted when it calls for unsalted and have never had an issue. Cold, melted and room temperature - What's the big deal? The reason you often see baking recipes specify how the butter should be prior to mixing, is because it can have a big impact on the final product. A brownie made with melted butter is often more dense than if you were to make it with room temperature butter. Why? Because at room temperature, you can whip in air, using sugar as a way to break up the butter molecules, creating a fluffier batter (making a cake like texture). But melted butter creates a heavier, less airy batter, which is usually what you want in a brownie. Have more questions about butter or fats? E-mail me at or comment below! #baking #bake #butter #fat #learning #education #recipe #bakingingredientblogseries

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