Friday, February 22, 2008

Low Sodium Buttery Spread

For years now I've been making my own homemade spread consisting of 1 pound butter whipped with 1 cup oil. But I wondered if there was a way to reduce the fat content of my homemade spread to make it more like the "lite" spreads found in the supermarket.

I looked online and found a few recipes. One, from, called for the addition of one full cup of water. Another, from combined 1/2 c. oil & 1/2 c. water to the pound of butter. The Laurel's Kitchen recipe used only 2 T. water, but added 2 T. dried skim milk & 1/4 tsp lecithin. On, I found an adaptation of Laurel's Kitchen called "Gloriamarie's Better Butter" that called for 4 T. water, 4 T. powdered milk, & 1 tsp. liquid lecithin.

I decided to play around with these recipes. Two weeks ago I combined one pound of butter, one cup of oil, & 1/4 cup of water. The water addition was not noticeable at all.

The result was very creamy and easily spreadable, just like the soft margarine sold in grocery stores. The added benefits were the lower salt content (because of the oil, water, & using some unsalted butter), and the lower calorie/fat count (because of the water). It had a true butter taste because of the real butter with no artificial flavorings or additives. 

All in all, I'm very satisfied with this product. I'm hesitant to add more water, although I suppose it's possible. The Better Baking recipe got good reviews, but I'm not sure I could successfully incorporate an additional 3/4 cup of water.

The Better Baking recipe called for the mixture to be whipped in a food processor, but I was afraid the large quantity of liquid ingredients would overflow. Laurel's Kitchen said to use a blender, but I didn't think a blender could mix everything correctly. So I used my electric hand mixer & a large, deep bowl. If I had a stand mixer, I'm sure that would do a superior job.

Low Sodium Buttery Spread
(Printable Recipe)

1 pound butter, 4 sticks in whatever combination desired
(Notes: I used 2 sticks salted & 2 sticks unsalted, resulting in an very lightly salted finished product.)
1 cup vegetable oil of choice (a light flavored oil works best)
1/4 cup water (optional)
4 tbsp. dry skimmed milk (optional)
1 tsp. liquid or granular lecithin (optional - an emulsifier)

Using an electric mixer (stand or hand-held), whip softened butter until fluffy. While still beating, dribble in the oil. (Liquid lecithin can be quite thick. You will need to "dissolve" it in a portion of the vegetable oil. I don't always use it.) Stop every once in a while to push down mixture with rubber spatula. Dissolve dried milk powder, if using, in water. (Granular lecithin should be dissolved in the water along with the milk powder.) While still beating, dribble in the water mixture. Stop every once in a while to push down mixture with rubber spatula. The mixture will be very fluffy.

Transfer mixture to a container and freeze for about 20 minutes to firm it up. Then keep refrigerated. Do not leave at room temperature for very long, because it might break down & separate.

Notes: For salt free spread, use all unsalted butter. For lightly salted spread, use 2 cubes unsalted butter & 2 cubes salted butter. For barely salted spread, use 3 cubes unsalted butter & 1 cube salted butter.

This makes a perfect spread and can be used for topping freshly cooked vegetables. I've even used it when frying or scrambling eggs in a non-stick skillet. And remember, the water, dried milk, and lecithin are all optional. The original 1 lb. butter to 1 cup oil is really easy and good all on its own.


Nora said...

I love your blog. My mom was recently put on a low sodium diet and the doctors have been less than helpful. Your blog has been a great resource for me.

A couple of quick questions about your butter spread recipe. How long does it keep? How do you store it? Can you freeze it? If yes, have you frozen it and with what results?

Sorry for the barrage of questions.Thanks again.

shambo said...

Nora, thank you for your kind words. I certainly understand the frustration of dealing with a low sodium diet and trying to find suitable products in your local grocery stores.

I'll try to answer your questions regarding the recipe & technique for "Even Better Low Sodium Butter Spread." The spread keeps for quite a while but eventually, because of the water content, it may develop some mold around the rim of your container. But that's after letting it sit in the fridge for over a month or so. For what it's worth, I've had the same problem with tubs of commercial whipped butter. Condensation develops in the tub which then leads to mold.

I store the butter spread in a plastic lidded container, nothing special. I've never tried freezing it. I think the water content would be problematic.

If you're worried about the quantity the recipe makes, just cut the ingredients in half. Or just make 1/4 of the recipe. That way, long term storage wouldn't be a problem.

Also, for many years I just combined the butter & oil. Adding water was just an experiment to come up with something similar to the low calorie spreads but also low sodium. The oil & butter combo is simple to make and is good for spreading and sauteing. And, because the recipe is so simple, it's really easy to reduce the quantities. Here's the recipe:

Low Sodium & Low Cholesterol Better Butter Spread

1 pound butter
1 cup light flavored oil

Let butter come to room temperature & whip. Slowly add oil until all is incorporated. Pack into container & refrigerate.

Notes: For salt free spread, use unsalted butter. For lightly salted spread, use 2 cubes unsalted butter & 2 cubes salted butter. For barely salted spread, use 3 cubes unsalted butter & 1 cube salted butter.

I usually put the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until softened, not melted. Then I whip with a fork & add the oil gradually. My son uses his KitchenAid mixer. You could also use a whisk, hand-held electric mixer, or food processor.

Hope this helps.

Nora said...

Thank you so much for your response. I look forward to trying both of these recipes(and others on your blog). I appreciate all of your work and the information on this blog. It makes this experience a little less stressful.

Thank you again.