How now, brown cow? The ba­sics of but­ter­milk.

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Dear Heloise: What, ex­actly, is but­ter­milk, and what are those lit­tle yel­low specks in but­ter­milk?

Barb G., An­der­son­ville, Ind. Barb G.: There are two types of but­ter­milk: tra­di­tional and cul­tured.

Tra­di­tional but­ter­milk was the liq­uid that was left af­ter churn­ing but­ter from cul­tured, or fer­mented, cream. The milk was left to stand for a pe­riod of time, which al­lowed the cream to sep­a­rate from the milk. Lac­tic acid in the milk pro­duced a bac­te­ria that fer­mented milk.

Cul­tured but­ter­milk is from milk that has been pas­teur­ized and ho­mog­e­nized. Then one of two types of bac­te­ria is added, which en­cour­ages the nat­u­ral fer­men­ta­tion process. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers add tiny yel­low flakes to im­i­tate but­ter. Dear Heloise: Like so many “non-morn­ing peo­ple,” it’s hard for me to get up in the morn­ing, so to get my­self out of bed, I set the timer on my cof­feemaker to 6 a.m., and just the smell of fresh cof­fee in the a.m. gets me up and go­ing.

Ellen K., Barnard, Vt. Ellen K.: Like you, I love a cup of cof­fee in the morn­ing. How about the rest of my read­ers? What gets you up on morn­ings when snug­gling un­der the cov­ers seems so nice? Dear Heloise: Why do some recipes call for un­salted but­ter and oth­ers don’t seem to care? Does it re­ally mat­ter which one I use? Norma M., Dil­lon, S.C. Norma M.: It all de­pends on what you’re mak­ing as to whether to use salted or un­salted but­ter. Many bak­ing recipes call for un­salted but­ter. Salt in but­ter acts as a preservative and will ex­tend the fresh­ness of the but­ter. If you’re on a low-sodium diet, how­ever, you’ll prob­a­bly want to use only un­salted but­ter. Some peo­ple swear they can taste the dif­fer­ence be­tween salted and un­salted but­ter in their fin­ished prod­uct. If a recipe calls for un­salted but­ter but all you have is salted in your fridge, sim­ply re­duce the amount of salt you add to the recipe. Dear Heloise: I’ve read that al­gae will one day be­come a food source for peo­ple. Is this true? And who wants to eat some­thing like that?

Sum­mer A., Cam­den, N.J. Sum­mer A.: When you think of al­gae, you prob­a­bly en­vi­sion swamps and dirty fish tanks. How­ever, al­gae might make an at­trac­tive food source for the fu­ture. It grows fast, con­sumes car­bon diox­ide while re­leas­ing oxy­gen into the air, does not com­pete with land-grown crops for space or wa­ter, and can be grown at sea. It has many uses be­sides food. Mi­croal­gae biomass can be used to cre­ate fuel for cleaner en­ergy and feed for other an­i­mals. It is nu­tri­en­trich and an excellent source of sol­u­ble fiber. Peo­ple have been eat­ing kelp, a form of al­gae, for gen­er­a­tions.

Tra­di­tional but­ter­milk was the liq­uid that was left af­ter churn­ing but­ter from cul­tured, or fer­mented, cream.

Heloise’s col­umn ap­pears six days a week at wash­ing­ton­post.com/ad­vice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San An­to­nio, TX 782795000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

© 2018, King Fea­tures Syn­di­cate

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