[Sca-cooks] cow butter?

Susan Lin susanrlin at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 07:06:15 PDT 2010

I know there was a discussion not long ago about schmaltz.  I was raised
with schmaltz being rendered chicken fat but I know others who grew up with
other cultures who recognize schmaltz as the fat of other animals.  The
entire thread is probably available through the Florilegium somewhere.

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 7:43 PM, <wheezul at canby.com> wrote:

> >
> > Another thing in the recipe that has me wondering is the mention of "cow
> > butter". Is there no general term for "butter" in Spanish? Or do recipes
> > tend to call out specific types of butter?
> Thanks for bringing up the question of butter, because I too have some!
> First, I did go spend the time to read through the florilegium files and I
> learned quite a bit from it - thanks everyone!
> In Anna Wecker's cookbook (I am now up to almost all of part 3 creating an
> ingredient list) - she specifies in a recipe to use butter, and that goat
> butter is preferred if available.  She also mentions cow, goat and sheep
> milks and cheeses.  I like her style of cooking - she says something like
> 'use this if you have it, or substitute x, y or z if you don't'.  Very few
> of her recipes have rigid guidelines for measurements.
> Specific questions I have are terminology related to fats.  The most
> prominent fat reference is to schmaltz which since I haven't found a
> 'tell' in the recipes I consider an animal fat - probably pork, but could
> certainly fall into the 'what you have on hand' category as well from pan
> drippings.  She mentions sweet almond oil specifically, and I don't seem
> to recall a reference to olive oil yet in the work.
> She also calls out for 4 types of butter (or 5 if you count the goat
> butter) - "butter", "anken", "sweet butter" and "May Butter".  To go back
> to the florilegium commentary, the citations by the compilers in several
> of the period German cookbooks I have been reading tell that May Butter
> refers to the fattest butters of the year because the cows gave the most
> milk fat in May.  In terms of Wecker's recipes, especially in how to make
> almond "May Mushes" that include extra butter or cream than the more
> regular mushes made with more or less the same ingredients, there is no
> hint that the freshest May Butter used in the rather nummy looking almond
> torte was meant to have medicianl value.
> I am confused by the interchangeability of the terms anken (which my
> dictionaries show as butter) or butter itself.  I just finished
> translating an inventory of 1528 of the Bishop of Strassburg's effects.
> In the cellar are 4 pots of schmaltz and 2 pots of anken - so probably
> different things entirely.  If anken is butter, than why does Anna switch
> between anken and butter?  If anken was preserved butter, that might make
> sense...
> So would 'sweet butter' mean freshly made butter?  Or would it mean that
> it wasn't allowed to sour at all as in the overnight step?  Or was the
> stored butter of a sour quality?  There is also a keg of 'gumpost'
> (compost) which my books suggest was a tub of soured milk.
> One last question from me.  When I experimented with making croissants a
> while back, one internet source said that European butter was drier than
> the US butter.  Is there a way of drying ours out more?
> Katherine in An Tir
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