The Ultimate Guide On Butter & Margarine Making Process

Butter is a dairy product that you obtain by churning milk or cream. The butter making process involves a series of activities aimed at separating the milk fat from the liquid phase and converting it into a solid phase.

Butter is a water-in-oil emulsion with the milk proteins acting as the emulsifiers. At refrigeration temperatures, butter remains a firm solid.

However, it softens into a spreadable consistency and melts into a liquid at relatively low temperatures.

In the butter making process, you can choose to use either sweet cream or sour cream to produce the product that you desire.

Sweet cream is a fresh cream without any developed acidity while sour/aged cream has developed acidity.

The butter making process flowchart

Best Butter Churn for Domestic Butter Making

a) Kilner Butter Churn, 34-Fluid Ounce Capacity

Butter making does not have to be an expensive affair. You can attain industrial quality butter by using a light duty machine in your kitchen.

Kilner Butter Churner is a no-brainer machine when it comes to domestic butter making. It converts cream into a fresh delicious butter in a matter of minutes.

This machine brings the nostalgia of making butter the traditional way right in your kitchen. You will be able to control the entire process and moderate the additional ingredients that you may need to incorporate in the butter.

It comes with a recipe pamphlet that you can use to make different varieties of butter.

The Kilner Butter Churner is simple to use. It comes with a dishwasher safe jar and paddles that are easy to clean and maintain.

It also comes with a user manual with easy to follow instructions. Once you assemble the machine, you will be ready to start churning your butter right away.


  • The glass jar is fragile. Needs careful handling.


  • Simplistic design is easy to use and maintain.
  • Glass jar is dishwasher friendly and inert
  • Strong paddles won’t break during churning

b) PROFESSIONAL Electric 220V 15LT. Capacity Dairy Butter Churn

This Electric Butter Churn machine eliminates the hard manual work, as the motor rotates the churning blades to produce butter.

You only need to press the button and watch as the machine converts the cream into butter – and buttermilk.

It has a capacity of 15 ltrs and comes fitted with three propeller turbulence system that does the work of converting cream to butter.

The system is easy to work with since the propellers can be easily dismantled and cleaned by hand.

The propellers are powered by a 2000 watts motor that provides enough power to churn the 15 ltrs at full capacity. Inner parts are made of food grade stainless steel for hygiene and ease of handling.


  • The system comes fitted with a European standard 220V top plug. You may need a converter if your outlet and mains voltage is different.


  • Easy to use, clean, and maintain. Parts are easy to dismantle and comes with a user manual. The only challenge with the manual could be language structuring since the machine is manufactured by a Turkish company – English is not their first language.
  • Excellent customer support
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Manufacturer ships the item worldwide

The Butter Making Procedure

Step One: Neutralization Process

This process takes place just before the cream pasteurization begins. However, it is not a mandatory process and you can skip it when dealing with fresh cream (0.1 – 0.12% lactic acid).

Neutralization process aims to achieve the following purposes

  • Lowering the acidity of the cream to a point that allows effective pasteurization
  • Eliminating abnormal flavors in butter; high acid content promotes oxidized and fishy flavors.
  • Producing a product with consistent quality parameters.

Lime and soda-based neutralizers are very effective in cream neutralization.

Soda-based neutralizers include:

Sodium hydroxide, Sodium bicarbonate, and sodium carbonate

Lime-based neutralizers include:

Calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide, and calcium carbonate.

When the cream has an unusually high level of acidity, you should use a combination of these two types of neutralizers. Using a large quantity of soda-based neutralizers to neutralize such a cream will cause partial saponification.

On the other hand, using large volumes of lime-based neutralizers will cause a strong limy flavor to occur in the product, which will become very hard. You have to strike a balance for your butter making process to be successful.

In some instances, you will find the acidity indicated in a different scale other than the percentage lactic acid.

Listed below are some of the common scales that represent the acidity index.

Dornic scale (°C) ==> 10°D

It represents the volume (in ml) of 0.11N NaOH used per 100 ml of the sample.

Soxhlet Henkel scale (°SH) ==> 4.4°SH

It represents the volume (ml) of 0.25N NaOH used per 100 ml of the sample

Thorner scale (°Th) ==> 11°Th

It represents the volume (ml) of 0.1N NaOH used per 100 ml of the sample.

Determining the percentage (%) lactic acid in a sample.

% l.a = {[Vol (ml) of 0.1N NaOH × 0.009]/[volume (ml) of sample]} × 100

0.009 is a constant and you derive it as follows:

  • If 1 lit (1000 ml) of 0.1N NaOH neutralizes 9g of lactic acid
  • 1 ml will neutralize (9/1000) = 0.009g of lactic acid.

Molecular equivalence between the lactic acid neutralized and the neutralizing agent

  • CH3CHOHCOOH : NaOH = 1:1
  • CH3CHOHCOOH : NaHCO3 = 1:1
  • CH3CHOHCOOH : Na2CO3 = 1:2
  • CH3CHOHCOOH : CaCO3 = 1:1
  • CH3CHOHCOOH : Ca(OH)2 = 1:1

After determining this ratio, you will be able to know the volume of alkali required to neutralize the lactic acid according to the ratio of the reaction.


If you have 1000 kg of cream with 40% butterfat and the acidity is high at 0.5% lactic acid to be neutralized to 0.1% lactic acid using NaHCO3. Calculate the amount of neutralizer(s) to use in your butter making process.


Amount of acid to be neutralized is 0.5% - 0.1% = 0.4%

0.4% of the 1000 kg cream is 4 kg of lactic acid

Ratio of alkali (NaHCO3) : lactic acid in the neutralization reaction

NaHCO3 : 90 (molecular weight of lactic acid)

84 (molecular weight of NaHCO3) : ?

Amount of neutralizer = 4 kg of l.a × (84/90) = 3.73 kg of NaHCO3

If you were to use Na2CO3 as the neutralizer, what amount would you need?

Amount of neutralizer needed = 4 kg l.a × (53/90) = 2.35 kg of Na2CO3

Note: 63 is half the molecular weight of Na2CO3 because its molecular equivalence in a reaction is 1:2

If you were to use NaOH as the neutralizer;

Molecular volume of NaOH is 40

Amount of neutralizer used = 4 kg l.a × (40/90) = 1.77 kg of NaOH

Adding the neutralizers

  • Ensure high precision during weighing. Add excess and saponification will occur; too little and precipitation of the cream occurs.
  • Dilute the neutralizer in a small amount of warm milk before adding to facilitate mixing.
  • Add the diluted neutralizer to the cream at 30°C while gently stirring. Rapid/violent stirring will cause foaming of the cream.
  • If the acidity of the cream is very high, use a combination of both lime and soda-based neutralizers. For instance, when the acidity is 0.4%, use 0.2% soda and 0.2% lime-based neutralizers. When you use lime-based neutralizer alone, it will cause cream thickening and produce a limy flavor.

Step Two: Pasteurization

You first determine the heat stability of the cream then subject it to high temperature pasteurization. Pasteurization ensures that the resultant butter is free from all pathogenic microorganisms.

The time/temperature combination for cream pasteurization varies according to the method of pasteurization used.

Reasons why cream undergoes high temperature pasteurization

Fat is a poor conductor of heat.

Fat can insulate some microorganisms if normal pasteurization temperatures are used. High temperatures ensure the destruction of all the microorganisms in the cream.

Peroxidase test confirms the effectiveness of cream pasteurization. Peroxidase is more heat resistant than alkaline phosphatase. It is destroyed at 80°C/15-20 seconds in continuous pasteurization, 75°C/30 minutes in batch pasteurization, and 140°C/2-4 seconds in UHT pasteurization.

Experience has shown that pasteurizing milk products with more than 8% fat content under low temperatures reactivates the alkaline phosphatase enzyme.

To denature lipolytic enzymes/lipases

Certain psychrotrophic bacteria such as Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas spp. produce heat resistant proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes.

To get rid of such bacteria, subject the milk to thermisation treatment. This is where you subject the milk to heat treatment at lower temperatures than pasteurization temperatures but for the same time period, e.g. 65°C/15-20 seconds.

To produce sulfhydryl groups (SH)

High temperatures denature whey/serum proteins. This opens/exposes the amino (SH) groups, which produce burnt flavors. These SH groups serve as inherent antioxidants and add preserve the product.

To remove strong flavors through vacreation systems

Through vacreation (also known as vacuum pasteurization), the boiling causes the volatile flavors to escape.

Step Three: Cooling and Handling of Cream

After pasteurization, cool the cream before churning it. The cooling order is designed to control the formation of crystals of fat so that the resultant butter has the desired consistency. The butter must remain firm enough at room temperature and elastic enough to allow for spreading.

Without varying the cooling program of the pasteurized cream, the consistency of the butter would depend exclusively on the chemical composition of the fat and subsequently vary with season or feeding.

The cooling program is designed to suit the iodine value hence optimize the butter consistency.

During cream cooling, the high melting point fat crystals will form first and form a mesh around the low melting point fat. During this process, timing is key. Hold for a very short period and a leaky butter forms, which will lead to lots of losses in the buttermilk.

If at all you have to use a shorter cooling time then it is advisable to use a lower cooling temperature to facilitate firming up of the mesh.

Longer holding time at lower temperatures produces a firmer butter due to a stronger mesh. You can churn such butter at high temperatures without incurring much loss because the cream has undergone complete crystallization.

Cream cooling regimes: Plasticity of fat based on its Iodine Value

a) Treatment regime for hard fat with Iodine value of 28-29.

Here, you should first cool it to 8°C for 2 hours then warm it up to 21°C for another 2 hours then finally cool to 16°C.

This treatment program aims at optimizing the liquid fat by converting some of the solid fat into liquid fat, adequate for the churning process.

Cooling the fat to 8°C causes formation of large number of small fat crystals. These crystals bind the fat from the liquid phase onto their surfaces.

Warming to 21°C causes conversion of some solid fat crystals into liquid. At this point, only the high melting point fat crystals remain solid. They continue to grow bigger during the 2-hour storage period.

Cooling down to 16°C causes binding up of more liquid fats onto the surface of the crystalline fat.

Following this treatment regime, the high melting point fat crystals collect more fat onto their surfaces and grow in size. This increases the efficiency of the butter working process as more butter oil is obtained during churning.

b) The low melting point fat treatment regime (fat with IV 40>)

Cool to 19°C then to 16°C and finally down to 8°C.

At 19°C, most of the fats are still in liquid form. Cooling to 16°C initiates fat crystallization. When the crystallization has started, cool the cream rapidly down to 8°C through a superfast cooling process.

Rapid cooling promotes rapid crystallization and formation of tiny crystals, which have higher surface area hence move up the column. Superfast cooling encourages formation of tiny crystals, which bind more liquid fat hence reduces loss in the buttermilk.

Climate and the feeding regime affect the IV index of fat. In Kenya for instance, the weather does not vary considerably hence the IV of fat varies between 25 and 35.

Types of creams used for making butter:

i) Sweet cream

This is the cream without formed acid. You cool it immediately after pasteurization to between 4°C - 6°C for 8 – 10 hours. This allows for partial formation of the fat crystals (ageing).

After aging, you raise the temperature to between 8°C - 11°C, which are the most appropriate temperatures for butter churning.

At these temperatures, you will obtain butter with a better consistency and incur minimal losses.

ii) Sour cream

After pasteurization, cool the cream to between 15°C - 20°C and inoculate with 2 – 4% starter culture. The starter culture will produce acid and flavor components.

Stir the inoculated cream gently to ensure that the starter culture is evenly distributed in the cream.

The incubation lasts for between 10 – 15 hours or check for the pH value of between 4.4 – 4.6. At this pH, all the MSNF coagulates.

During the early stages of acidification, homofermentative bacteria predominates the medium. As the acid increases (medium becomes more anaerobic), anaerobic Leuconostoc spp or diacetilactis takes over the fermentation process.

Mesophilic cultures are preferable in cream pasteurization due to the low fermentation temperatures involved.

Once the fermentation process is complete, lower the temperature to 8°C - 11°C, which is the churning temperature range.

Justifications for culturing before before churning cream

Culturing lowers the pH of the cream and preserves the product by hindering microbiological activity.

To control the culturing process, control the amount of the inoculum, the incubation temperatures, and the incubation time.

You can also monitor the pH as a control measure. Using the pH as a control method can be very effective due to the use of optimal pH of the product as a reference point.

You should practice proper culturing techniques if you expect to end up with a high quality product.

Aroma formation

Apart from acid formation, optimum CO2 and aroma components are also important indicators of a proper culturing process.

These components give the butter a fresh aromatic flavor.

The fermentation process yields a product, acetyl methyl carbinol, which is either reduced into a flavorless product (acetoin) or oxidized to form diacetyl.

This conversion depends on oxygen tension and the pH of the medium. Under normal conditions, oxygen tension and pH will be such that most of the acetyl methyl carbinol is reduced to acetoin.

However, at lower pH values and high oxygen tension, more diacetyl will form. You can achieve this by stirring more oxygen into the fermenting cream.

Do not forget that diacetyl is a volatile compound, which you will need to stabilize by cooling the cream.

When you use only the D-culture (predominated by L. lactis diacetylactis), acetaldehyde is produced. This acetaldehyde produces the yoghurt flavor. Leuconostoc spp. has the ability to convert the acetaldehyde into milk diacetyl.

On the other hand, you can ferment the butter by adding lactic acid concentrate with flavor components into the butter during the kneading process.

Step Four: Churning Process

This is the process of converting the fat in cream from a discontinuous phase to a continuous phase. This process also converts the fat globules into fat granules.

The churning theory

The three most predominant theories of butter churning include the following

i) Agglomeration/form theory

Applicable when converting the cream to butter

ii) Concentration theory

Applicable when using very high concentration cream/plastic cream

iii) Combination theory

Preferable when reconstituting butter using butter oil (99% purity). Yields butter with 88% butterfat content.

Methods of churning

You can choose to use either batch or a continuous system depending on several factors. Regardless of the method you use, the form theory still holds.

How the form theory of butter churning works:

The fat globule membrane (FGM) consists of various molecules that are partially fat-soluble and partially water-soluble. These two ends are repellent to each other, necessitating the need for a neutral phase. The air bubbles provide the required neutral phase.

The membrane materials are phospholipids and lipoproteins that seek to place themselves in the interphases between the water and fat or between water and air.

During churning, foam forms. The FGM that seeks the water/air and water/fat interfaces enter into a competition and attach themselves onto the air bubbles.

Agitation removes the membrane materials. Consequently, the liquid fat spreads over the inner surface of the air bubbles of the water/air interface.

As the churning continues, the bubbles collide, combine and burst decreasing the total surface. After rapturing, the fat globules coalesce to form granules. The liquid fat becomes the cementing agent for the granules.

The fat globules, which have lost some of the membrane materials during the process aggregate into a smaller surface. Here, they coalesce to form granules with the liquid fat holding them together.

Break-point during butter churning

This is the stage during churning when the butter grains separate from the serum phase. The butter grains are visible and the buttermilk starts washing the sight glass.

This process may delay to reach the breakpoint due to excessive foaming, which you can reduce by releasing excessive gas. You can also add breakwater (chilled water) to induce breakpoint.

However, when you are manufacturing sweet cream butter, try not to use breakwater because it will adulterate the buttermilk. Buttermilk from the sweet cream manufacturing process is usually recycled.

Step Five: Washing the Butter Granules

Stop churning immediately the granules attain the desired size (diameter of 3 – 5 mm). drain the buttermilk off. Some of the coagulated proteins will remain in the granules and act as sieves to ensure only buttermilk drains off.

Adding chilled water before draining the buttermilk ensures a better separation of the granules from the buttermilk. The common practice is to add wash water of an equivalent amount of the drained buttermilk and churning for about 10 minutes with the wash water.

The length of churning will depend mostly on the status of the butter granules and the quality of the buttermilk. If necessary, you can wash twice. This also improves the consistency of the grains.

When you have used a good quality cream for the manufacturing process, you can use chilled buttermilk to wash the butter granules.

Step Six: Working/Kneading the Butter

After draining the buttermilk and washing the butter granules, your butter is now ready for kneading.

Objectives of kneading

  1. To homogenize the separate granules
  2. Removing any remaining buttermilk and wash water
  3. To distribute the moisture content in the butter in form of tiny droplets
  4. To uniformly distribute the salt and other additives added at this stage

During working, you get to press the granules together thereby pressing out part of the watery phase to achieve the desired moisture content.

To ensure effective water removal, ensure that the butter grains attain a certain level of firmness otherwise it will not be possible to remove or incorporate water/moisture.

Some important formulae in the butter making process

How to calculate the amount of neutralizer to use in high acid cream

Neutralizer quantity = cream quantity (kg/ltrs) × (% l.a in cream – desired % l.a in cream) × molar equivalent of neutralizer to lactic acid.

For instance, if you use sodium bicarbonate, it will be 84/90 and if you use sodium carbonate, it will be 53/90 instead of 106/90.

Calculating expected yield from the butter making process.

Weight of butter = weight of cream × % B.F of cream × 1.2

Calculating the amount of salt to add during the butter making process

Weight of salt = % salt needed × weight of expected butter.

Calculating the amount of makeup water (water to add)

Makeup water ={[desired M.C – M.C in butter] × estimated amount of butter}/[100 – M.C in butter.

Calculating percentage overrun

% butter overrun = [(butter – pure fat) × 100]/pure fat

Calculating effective salt concentration in butter

Note: effective salt is the % of salt in water.

Effective salt = (2 × 100)/16 = 12.5%

Step Seven: Packaging, Storage, and Summing up the Butter Making Process

After manufacturing, you can now package the butter in various packs depending on the intended use. You can use grease proof paper, vegetable parchment, laminated foil, lacquered tins or plastic tubs for packaging.

The reason for using these materials is to ensure that the butter does not lose moisture or absorb a foreign flavor during storage.

Infusing nitrogen into the butter helps keep the butter soft and spreadable even at refrigeration temperatures.

If you intend the butter almost immediately, store it at low temperatures of about 5°C. However, when the butter is to be used at a later date calling for a long-term storage, lower the storage temperatures to -25°C.

Lower temperatures improve the keeping quality of butter and reduces the risk of package distortion during handling.

Here is a video of the butter making process for home-made butter. Even though it does not show the salting and kneading process, it gives you a rough idea of the butter making process.

Video by Reviving Tradition

How To Make Margarine In 9 Short Simple Steps

Although most people still use the term margarine to refer to any type of table spread, the Food Standards Code defines margarine to contain at least 80% fat. Spreads require about 60% fat to suit baking purposes. You can use lower-fat spreads for ‘spreading’ on bread during toasting.

Brief history of margarine

Hyppolyte Mege Mouries, a French chemist, developed and patented the formula for making margarines.

He came up with the formula at the height of industrial revolution in the late 1860s when the swelling number of urban dwellers outstripped the available butter supply.

He made it as an imitation of the real butter to meet the demand. Fortunately for him, margarine became very popular due to its lower cost and close imitation of butter.

The real butter was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it. The low-cost of margarine gave the poor people an opportunity to use spreads on their breads.

Types of margarine

There are two types of margarine in the market, namely:

a) Table margarine

This is the type of margarine that people regularly use as a table spread. It should have a wide melting point range, easy spread, and quick melting in the mouth.

b) Confectionery/bakery margarine

This type of margarine is common in the confectionery/baking industry. Just as the name suggest, it is useful for making cakes, biscuits, and other pastries. To make it more plastic, the manufacturer adds about 4-8% of hard fat.

To achieve a higher Solid Fat Index (SFI), it is advisable to keep this type of margarine at temperatures of between 33.3°C and 37.8°C. bakery margarine has a rapid creaming rate, wide plastic range, and a small proportion of fully hydrogenated fat (melting point 54°C).

Fat separation is critical to obtaining the right proportions of the fat blends. Different fats have different melting points, hence the applicability of the fractionation method.

Melting characteristics of fats:

Milk fat fractionMelting temperature range (°C)
Very high melting fraction>50
High melting fraction35 – 50
Middle melting fraction25 – 35
Low melting fraction10 – 25
Very low melting fraction<10

Ingredients for making margarine:

  1. Refined vegetable oil/fat
  2. Water
  3. Milk/whey/cream/reconstituted skimmed milk/skimmed milk/milk powder (optional)
  4. Salt and other flavors
  5. Emulsifiers and antioxidants
  6. Color e.g. annato
  7. Vitamins e.g. vitamins A,D, and E
  8. Plant sterols (optional) - they can reduce low density lipoproteins (LDL)/bad cholesterol
  9. Other additives of your choice, e.g. spices

Procedure for making margarine

Step one: Fat Blend formulation

Here, you blend different refined oils and fats to meet the requirements of a given type of margarine. Some blends have one, others two or more fat/oil blends. Whatever the case, the aim of blending is to have a high quality blend that will produce the highest quality product.

The final blend should exhibit high level of stability, suitable consistency, and wide range of plasticity at varying temperatures.

Plasticity and spread ability are key features of a high quality margarine, which depend on the ration of solid to liquid phases.

The crystalline character of the solid phase will determine the consistency and firmness of the margarine.

While blending, be careful to ensure that you obtain the same physical properties of the butterfat regardless of the climatic conditions and temperatures. You should obtain refined fats and oils from the factory ready for blending.

Fat blend refining process

a) Degumming

Involves removal of phospholipids and other water-soluble materials from the crude oil. Heat the oil and 1-3 percent water to a temperature of 70°C for half an hour to one hour. After heating, separate the mixture by centrifugation into degummed oil, gums, and water.

b) Neutralization/ saponification

Saponification is the removal of the free fatty acids from the oil. Neutralize the acids by sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to get neutralized oil and soap. Heat the oil and NaOH to 90°C for 60 minutes then wash with water and separate by centrifugation. You further hydrolyse the soap by adding an acid to get fatty acids and sodium acid and water. You centrifuge this mixture once again to separate the fatty acids from the soap stock.

c) Bleaching

Bleaching involves the removal of pigmentation, metals, soap, hydroxides, and base residues from the neutralized oil. The preferred bleach is bleaching earth (fine ground earth mineral material).

After adding the bleach, heat the mixture to 105°C for 30 to 60 minutes. After this, separate the mixture by a filtration process.

d) Deodorization

This step is necessary to expel all the off-flavors in the oil. Carbonyls and hydroperoxides are the major culprits for the volatile flavors.

To achieve deodorization, heat the oil to temperature of between 205°C and 275°C under vacuum (1 – 5 mmHg) for between 3 – 8 hours.

The vacuum will remove oxygen and promote vaporization. The volatile flavors will escape with the vapor.

After vaporization, cool the oil blend to temperatures of between 140°C - 150°C and add 50 ppm of citric acid to scavenge for copper and iron metals by chelation.

e) Hydrogenation

Hydrogenation is the addition of hydrogen to saturate the double bonds of the fatty acids. Saturation will make the product firmer and more stable to prevent oxidation. Hydrogenation is effective in the presence of a catalyst such as nickel.

Hydrogenation increases the melting point of the oil/fat and improves its resistance to oxidation and flavor deterioration.

Add hydrogen gas into the oil and heat to 200°C at 90 psi for between 6 and 16 hours in the presence of nickel. After this holding period, cool and filter the mixture to remove the nickel.

Step two: Blending the fats

The fat blends constitute the fatty phase of the margarine. The objective of making the fat blend is to obtain a mixture with a steep SFI curve.

This will ensure that the product remains firm under refrigeration but fairly spreadable and easily  melts in the mouth.

Storage of fat blends

For easy handling and transportation, it is advisable to keep the refined oils/fats in liquid state.

If you have to store them for more than three days, it is better to convert them to solid and later remelt shortly before use. This will help you avoid the unnecessary oxidation.

Store solid fats in melting tanks fitted with agitators to keep the fats liquefied and homogeneous before transferring them to the composition tanks where you will weigh them into various proportions.

The composition tanks should be warm to avoid recrystallization of the high meting constituents. Store the individual fats slightly above their individual melting points.

Add fat soluble ingredients such as  coloring matter and vitamin concentrates at this point.

The three typical mixtures of the margarine

  1. Hydrogenated groundnut oil melting point 45°C (25%) + Cotton seed oil liquid (25%) + Coconut oil melting point 24°C (50%)
  2. Hydrogenated groundnut oil melting point 45°C (18%) + Hydrogenated groundnut oil melting point 32°C (40%) + Groundnut oil liquid (22%) + Palm kernel oil melting point 28°C (20%)
  3. Coconut  oil (40%) + Palm kernel oil melting point 28°C (20%) + Soya bean oil liquid (20%) + Hydrogenated whale oil melting point 45°C (20%).

Step three: Tempering of the fat blends

Tempering tanks consist of hot water jacket or coils for heating and a stirrer. These will be instrumental in adjusting the temperatures of the fat blends for the subsequent steps, emulsification or churning since different fats have different temperatures.

The temperatures depend on the blend and emulsification techniques. The temperatures may vary from 26°C to 40°C or even higher if you are making confectionery margarine.

Step four: Preparation of the aqueous phase

You can use skim milk or water or even a mixture of skim milk and water for the aqueous phase. You may also add some water-soluble ingredients.

Emulsify the milk containing part with fat blends to produce a product that tastes and feels like butter. The amount of milk varies from country to country and from product to product; however, the best brands of margarine contain at least 12% milk.

Reasons for using milk for aqueous phase are four-fold

  1. Imparts desirable flavor and aroma and eliminates any too marked sensation of fat on the palate.
  2. Aids in emulsion production and stabilization
  3. It retards by its denatured serum proteins development of undesirable taste by oxidation of the fat during storage
  4. Provides some of the solid, non-fatty ingredients, which give the uncharacteristic brown, granular, aromatic sediment as does butter when you subject it to frying.

You can use milk in the form of cream, whole milk, skimmed milk, reconstituted milk, whey, and/or buttermilk for the constitution.

Some countries prohibit the use of milk and milk derivatives in margarine. In such cases, you only have the option of using water for the aqueous phase.

However, in most instances, milk, skimmed milk or reconstituted skimmed milk forms the basis of the aqueous phase.

Preparing the aqueous mix

After mixing the aqueous phase, pasteurize it to produce the desired diacetyl aroma just as the one obtained from cultured butter.

Inoculate 1% acid and aroma producing starter culture into the pasteurized serum milk phase to ripen it and produce the aroma.

Some manufacturers prefer to introduce the flavor concentrated into the aqueous phase rather than culture it.

Chemical preservatives

Permitted food grade chemical preservatives, e.g. benzoic and sorbic acid, prevent deterioration of the product. Antioxidants prevent oxidation defects that might arise.

Step five: Emulsion blending and mixing

Churning and emulsification

Here, you mix the fat blends and the aqueous phase with their ingredients to produce an emulsion. Churn the emulsion vigorously at temperatures of between 32°C - 35°C to produce a homogenous product.

Ensure the churn has strong baffles to facilitate mixing and shearing of the mixture. It should also have a jacket to facilitate efficient heating and cooling.

Cooling and crystallization of the emulsion

After mixing, subject the mixture to shock cooling to -4°C - 10°C and rapid solidification to fix the emulsion and ensure desired crystal formation for better consistency and smooth texture.

Introduce the emulsion onto a cooling surface, usually a rotating drum that brings the temperature to below the freezing point. The product should come out as dry flakes or a soft sheet; the latter is preferable.

Some systems use brine as the coolant while majority of systems use direct expansion ammonia.

Step six: Tempering

The flaky substance or sheet that results from shock cooling has a high solid to liquid ration, hence reduced plasticity.

Tempering in rollers of various designs aims to increase the product plasticity by reducing the solid to liquid ratio by slowly increasing the temperature to 10°C - 15°C from -4°C - 10°C as it matures. This process is called resting period and it may last for between 12 – 18 hours depending on the type of margarine you are making.

The favorable solid to liquid ratio that result from the maturing period facilitates kneading and plasticizing. However, when you are manufacturing the margarine by a continuous process, you may completely omit this step.

Step seven: Kneading and plasticizing

Here, you work the margarine mixture to impart the qualities of consistency and firmness.

Subject the margarine to deformation by exerting pressure and shearing forces by using roller bats, kneading tables and/or mixers/blenders.

You can add salt and other ingredients at this stage die to the thoroughness of the mixing process.

Step eight: Blending

Blending is applicable to the batch method where you can use high-speed blenders to knead the margarine and give it the final working and plasticizing.

This step facilitates proper quality control to ensure consistent quality of different batches. You can also use this step to adjust standardization of the water and other ingredients such as salt.

Step nine: Packaging

After blending, allow the margarine to rest in the cold store at 10°C - 12°C  to harden it  some more before you mold and package it.

These nine simple to follow steps will guide you through the process and show you how simply you can make margarine even at home.

20 Harmful Butter Defects & Their Solutions

Butter is a premium dairy product. Failure to control the butter defects can lead to some serious consequences such as food poisoning when the consumer uses the defective butter.

Before releasing the butter to the market for sale, a team of competent judges conducts a series of tests to grade it. They carry out organoleptic tests to score for flavor, texture, color, and shape.

Different countries have different demands for these quality parameters. However, the evaluation methods remain fairly uniform from one country to the next.

Factors to consider when evaluating butter defects

  • Appearance; color and package
  • Body and texture; consistency
  • Flavor

Butter defects related to the appearance

The judges check for color and uniformity.

Defects in appearance

1.      Free moisture/leaky butter

The butter is considered to be leaky if the trier exhibits visible droplets. Free moisture predisposes the butter to microbial attack.

Free moisture may result from poor kneading of the butter, incomplete salt dissolution, or working the butter after it has already firmed up.

2.      Mottled butter

Mottling occurs when there are tiny, evenly distributed discolorations that result from uneven and insufficient salt dispersion in butter.

3.      Streaky butter

You notice this defect when you cut the butter and there are bands of different colors. This defect is common with the butter from a continuous butter making process due to the short working time involved.

It is common in butter with high iodine value but may also arise due to mixing of two batches that have different colors.

4.      Oily butter

This happens when you notice droplets of butter oil after cutting the butter. This defect may occur due to the application of intensive vacuuming during kneading.

You can prevent this defect by reducing the vacuum during butter working. Too soft cream has a higher risk of producing an oily butter.

5.      Moldy butter

You observe a visible mold growth on the butter or the wrapping material. Faulty packaging may provide access to the inner parts of the butter and make it possible for the molds to grow.

This defect affects the quality of the butter since the moldy appearance; the smell and the taste are unwelcoming. Furthermore, lipolytic activity may lead to rancidity rendering the butter inconsumable.

The molds may be transferred from the packaging material, through the air, the utensils, or even the butter handling equipment.

6.      Open butter

When you cut the butter, you will notice small notches on the cut surface. This defects results from overworking the butter. The butter sticks to the churn and is torn as it rotates.

It may also result due to too much air in the butter as a result of insufficient vacuuming.

7.      Foreign particles in butter

Occasionally, you may find foreign materials such as metals, wood, hair, or glass in the butter. To avoid these, ensure the working environment is clean.

Also, ensure that the spatula you use for working the butter is not split to avoid splinters in the butter.

Butter defects related to consistency

High quality butter should have a firm closely-knit texture. Consistency (body and texture) of butter borrows a lot from the physical properties of the butter.

These properties depend upon butter composition, structure of fat globules, rate of crystallization in cream and butter, amount of liquid fat and the size of the fat crystals in the butter.

The butter defects related to consistency include:

1.      Crumbly butter

The fat particles are non-cohesive; they do not stick together. The butter is dry and readily falls apart when you apply pressure to it. This defect occurs due to rapid cooling or too hard fat globules.

2.      Greasy butter

Characterized by extreme smoothness and easy melting in the mouth. It is also sticky, soft, and often oily.

3.      Gummy butter

Sticks to the roof of the mouth due to high percentage of high melting point glycerides.

4.      Mealy/grainy butter

Noticeable grains in the butter. This happens when you do not properly neutralize the high acid in the cream with lime.

5.      Short butter

Such butter lacks plasticity and waxiness. It is not easy to spread as it is brittle and breaks easily.

6.      Gritty butter

Happens when there is undissolved salt in the butter.

Butter defects associated with the flavor

Appearance and consistency accounts for half the butter score and flavor the other half. High quality butter should have a clean, sweet, pleasant taste and a delicate aroma. It should not have a pronounced taste and odor.

The flavor defects include:

1.      Acidic flavor

Results from high acid or over ripened cream. It has a sharp sour taste.

2.      Malty flavor

The butter tastes like wine or grape due to the growth of Lactococcus lactis subspp Multigenes, which acts on the curd to produce citric acid associated with the wine flavor.

3.      Cheesy flavor

Proteolytic enzymes split the casein in cream or butter.

4.      Rancid flavor

Characterized by a strong, bitter and soapy flavor. It results from hydrolysis of fats by lipases.

5.      Tallowy flavor

Happens when the unsaturated fatty acids in milk undergo oxidation in the presence of metals (copper and/or iron). The oxidation process produces the taste and odor of lard (pork fat).

6.      Yeasty flavor

Occurs due to the byproducts from yeast growth. They undergo lipolytic and proteolytic activity.

7.      Alkaline flavor

Occurs if you add too much neutralizer to the cream. The butter ends up tasting like soap and bitter with a slimy feel.

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