Ever wondered why is butter yellow yet the milk from which it is obtained is white? This article will answer your question.
The primary reason for the color difference is the high fat quantity found in butter. Cows which depend on grass and flower as their main meal store beta carotene (the yellow pigment occurring naturally in the plants) in their fat. This yellow pigment then finds itself in the milk’s fat. The major part of milk is water, consisting of less than 5% fat. The percentage of cream is nearly 30 to 40% while the fat content in butter is about 80 percent.
There is a thin membrane surrounding the fat globules in cream or milk. This is what hides the beta carotene pigment. Apart from the encapsulation role, it also reflects light to make milk look white.
Elaine Khosrova, the former editor of the publication culture, said that to make butter, you need to churn cream and in the process “break the membrane apart, and the fat globules cluster together.”
Generally, the goal of making butter is to break the membrane. As this is broken, the beta carotene is exposed. After churning is done, what is left behind consists of mainly butterfat, which takes the largest yellow part.
Why butter from other animals is yellow
But again not all butter is yellow. For instance, butter obtained from sheep milk, goat milk or water buffalo milk is white in color. Why? Well, beta carotene in these animals is not stored as in the cows. In contrast, they convert it to colorless vitamin A.
If you want to obtain more yellow butter, then you will have to raise the cows on pasture. This butter will be thick yellow especially if the milk is collected in summer or spring. The wintertime butter is less yellow because even the cows that heavily depend on pasture feed grain – hence low beta carotene.
Not is purely Natural
But it’s not true that the yellow butter is purely natural from all dairy producers. Some add color, mainly annatto. Annatto is a derivative of seeds from the achiote tree, which is native to Central and South America and grows in tropical regions.
Research has shown that our perception of taste is determined to greater heights by the color.