To make one kilogram of butter you need 20 litres of whole milk.
Advancements in technology, in particular with regard to the hygiene, speed and reliability of production, have not significantly altered the main phases of butter production.
Butter is derived from freshly produced cows’ milk, which is left to stand overnight in separation tanks.
The following morning the cream that has risen naturally to the surface is separated from the milk beneath it, transferred to steel containers and left to stand for a day in cold storage at a temperature of about 4 degrees.
The final step involves churning: the cream obtained is put in rotating cylindrical containers called churns, where it is churned for a good half hour. The end result is the butter, which is then put into moulds made of wood or steel.
The COLOUR of the butter is pure white in the winter, while it tends to have a straw colour in the summer when the diet of the cows changes.
The FLAVOUR, though, should be as sweet as possible. New butter retains its FRESHNESS for about seven days.
Butter can be used by people of all ages and, contrary to popular belief, it is easily and rapidly digested, with the exception of cooked butter. The Latteria Sociale Stallone produces about 600kg each day.
Did you know?
Cattle herding people around the world have been producing butter for much longer than you may have thought.
The oldest “written” evidence dates back 4500 years, to the Sumerian era, and is engraved on a tablet of limestone, preserved in the museum of Baghdad. The scene depicts cows being milked by workers on a large estate and butter being produced in a primitive “churn“. This is nothing more than a large jar containing milk, in which the liquid is made to swirl to the right and the left.
A recipe from Maestro Martino da Como in Il Libro de arte coquinaria (The Book of Culinary Art), a fifteenth century cookbook written in the vernacular, can be dated to around 1460:
"In like manner, as said above, take a pound of cleaned and very well minced almonds, and you shall use the cloth to press them tightly adding half a glass of rose water; and in order to press them tightly, you shall add a bit of starch flour, or, even better, half a glass of pike broth along with four ounces of sugar and just a little bit of saffron, to make it yellow, pressing it all, as I have said, as tightly as possible. Then, you shall give it the shape like that of a pat of butter; you shall put it to rest in a very cool place from the evening to the following morning”.
The Butter History
Butter is a very ancient product: Egyptians made it from the milk of farm animals and traces of this food have been found in cylindrical jars in the tombs of the 1st dynasty at Abydos. Originally, butter was used for purposes other than for food: from cosmetics to medicine, in particular as a healing ointment. There is a famous story of Caesar’s legionaries, well attested to in our region, who refused to eat asparagus with butter, because they considered it to be an ointment.
A curious detail emerges from late Middle Ages cuisine: the use of butter was much more prevalent in the regions of Southern Italy than in those of the North, where lard and oil predominated. This was in spite of the logistical problems involved; actually, it may have been precisely these difficulties, which gave it a degree of exclusivity, that prompted its use among the southern elite.
For many centuries, butter has been a symbol of refinement – just think of the French “cuisine au beurre“. Its high cost compelled people to use alternative oils for cooking such as those from linseed, rapeseed, kale and, for the more affluent, from walnuts.
In the kitchen butter and oil are traditionally viewed as interchangeable, often incorrectly so.