Butter is a simple yet essential ingredient used in everyday cooking. It is especially important when making delicious foods and side dishes for our Thanksgiving celebration. From stuffing to mashed potatoes, pie crusts, and dinner rolls, we can’t imagine this festive feast without butter. Each year manufacturers produce nearly 20 billion pounds per year to meet the US consumption!
The earliest butter trade began in the middle ages by the Scandinavians around the 12th century. In the early days, butter was not a popular ingredient and considered peasant food. It wasn’t until the 16th century that bread and butter became a family favorite and began to be used to prepare other foods.
The very first butter factories originated in the USA in the 1860s. In the 1870s, the first centrifugal cream separator was introduced, which significantly sped up production. The packaging process began in the early 1900s, and the long rectangular shape of butter sticks that we all know were born!
So what is butter? Butter is a dairy product made from the fat and protein in milk. It receives its yellow color from Vitamin A. Thanks to its low cost, flavor, and melting properties, butter is one of the most popular ingredients in baked goods, sauces, and sautéing meats and veggies.
One of FS-Elliott’s most recent P300+ installations went to a large global producer of dairy products, including butter! They use the ISO 8573-1 Class 0 oil-free air from this P300+ to ensure the cleanest air is used in their factories to produce all of their dairy products.
The process of making butter begins with raw milk trucked to the factory from local farms. From there, compressed air pumps the raw milk into large storage silos before being sent to a large industrial separator that spins and divides the raw milk’s fat, or buttercream, from the now remaining skim milk. The buttercream is pasteurized and sent to the butter churner to be separated into butter and buttermilk. Salt is then added to the butter and sent through a milling machine to blend and smooth the butter before it is shaped into rectangles and packaged.
Throughout this process, compressed air is used to transfer the butter by opening and closing valves on their specialized equipment. The air is also used at the final stage of production to push the butter sticks along conveyor belts to the final bulk packaging stations. Cleaning and purging the various equipment hoses and lines also require the use of compressed air before the entire process is re-started in the factory to make a new batch of fresh butter.
As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday season, we would like to give thanks to the hard-working farmers and factory workers. They ensure our foods are manufactured in a clean and safe environment and are able to make enough food through advances in technology to meet our food demands each year.
Click the image below to view one of our favorite FS-Elliott family recipes!