Cheese shops have recently started carrying goat butter. Can it be used in the same way as butter made from cow’s milk?
The first thing we noticed when we unwrapped our goat butter was its translucent white color—quite different from the yellow of cow’s-milk butter. The difference is due to the fact that goats transform the beta-carotene in their diets into colorless vitamin A, while cows do not.
Goat butter and cow butter have very similar fat content, but goat butter’s different fatty acid structure gives it a lower melting point and makes it softer at room temperature. As for taste, we found that goat butter has a much milder flavor than goat cheese but still retains enough tang and grassiness to set it apart from cow butter when spread on bread. Most tasters loved this “barnyard” quality—though some couldn’t get past the butter’s resemblance to shortening. The subtle flavor differences between goat butter and cow butter were lost, however, when we used them to sauté carrots.
There was one surprising area in which goat butter really shone: butter cookies. The butter’s low melting temperature gave cookies an extra-tender, sandy texture. This is because the melted fat is able to more effectively coat the proteins in the flour, resulting in less hydration and less gluten development—and a cookie that’s more delicate and “short.” Plus, tasters loved how the slight tanginess of the goat butter served as a counterpoint to the cookie’s sweetness.
Still, with the Liberté Goat Milk Butter we tasted selling for about $10.99 per 250-gram package (the equivalent of marginally more than two 8-tablespoon sticks), we’ll save it for special occasions.