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I understand salted butter can be useful is some situations, but why there's no such thing as "sugar butter" that can be sold in stores? I mean, there is sweet milk (concentrated, for instance) and sweet yoghurt, but no sweet butter nor sweet cheese. Is it just cultural or is there some chemical explanation behind it?

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Regardless of the butter discussion, there ARE a number of sweet cheeses. White stilton and carre frais are relatively sweet, to say nothing of mascarpone or gjetost. –  heathenJesus Aug 31 '12 at 15:31
    
I was actually thinking about cheese that have sugar added during the fabrication process - but I'm not sure that would work. –  dhekir Aug 31 '12 at 17:39
    
@heathenJesus: When you say "gjetost", do you mean as in brown goat cheese? "gjetost" sounds quite similar to "geitost", which is Norwegian for "goat cheese", and is a sweet goat cheese that gets brown color because of the sweetness. This is a special Norwegian cheese. –  awe Sep 5 '12 at 18:56
    
@awe: yes, the brown cheese that is sweet because of the carmelization. Gjetost/geitost/brunost/mesost/mysustor/myseost/braunkäse are all different names for the same type of cheese. –  heathenJesus Sep 5 '12 at 19:23

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Butter traditionally has salt in it as a preservative, mainly to stop bacterial growth on the residual whey, and to slow fat rancidity

Modern butter has a much lower amount of salt than is required for shelf storage in the pre-electric era. Now we have refrigerators, salt is not required at such a high level

Butter with no salt has nearly half of the shelf life of modern salted butter

Processed sugar is a modern ingredient, and therefore there is no culture in having it in butter.

Sweet yoghurt and milk are all "new" inventions

Using salt as a preservative is as old as recorded history. Many cultures used salt to preserve fruits, as well as meats and vegetables

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Which problems are caused by processed sugar? –  BaffledCook Aug 31 '12 at 9:55
    
@BaffledCook Processed sugar is a key ingredient to producing tasty packaged and processed foods, most of which are high GI index foods (high fat, empty carbs etc), and are bad for pre-diabetics, and may lead to type II diabetes. Removing sugar makes large parts of this food group much less appealing and "addictive" –  TFD Aug 31 '12 at 11:22
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Health/nutrition problems, real though they may be, are off-topic. It'd be fine in this case if the answer were "sweet butter doesn't exist because it'd be too unhealthy so no one makes/wants it", but I don't think that's what you're saying here. –  Jefromi Aug 31 '12 at 21:28
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@dhekir this is actually a different discussion, but yes, you can preserve with sugar alone, as long as the concentration is high enough to interfere with the bacterial physiology through osmosis. Old-time preserves were durable without pasterization, because the sugar content was high enough. But most foods never reach the sugar concentration needed for preservation, certainly not ketchup. –  rumtscho Sep 1 '12 at 11:29
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@sarge_smith What content is that? Fell free to edit or answer yourself :-) –  TFD Sep 3 '12 at 21:48

There is such a thing, for example Corriher has a great recipe in Cookwise for chambord butter. These foods are of course not pure butter, just as "fruit yoghurt" is not pure yogurt: you can mix butter with sugar and sweet flavorings to make a sweet butter spread, like you can mix it with parsley and chives to make a savory spread.

As to why there is no commercially mixed sweet butter readily available, I suspect that this is a simple case of the law of supply and demand. And the missing demand for certain foods globally (like sweet butter) or locally (like cream of tartar) is an interesting sociology problem (I suspect it is due to the cooking styles in certain influential books like Better Homes and Gardens in the US and Dr Oetker Kochbuch in Germany), but it has no real culinary roots.

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It is commercially available, although very localized. Sweet butter from Soria (Spain). Some links: Spanish Wikipedia and its DOC. The links are in Spanish; as I said it's very localized. –  J.A.I.L. Nov 15 '12 at 22:23

Bacteria loves sugar. Butter with sugar added will spoil in a few hours at room temperature unless preservatives are added.

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What's your source for this? –  razumny Mar 2 at 19:23

Two reasons. Butter is sweet. Butter is a base ingredient. How would one determine the level of sweetness and what would it be used for. How would sweet butter increase sales over plain?

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Sweetened condensed milk as mentioned in the question is of a standardized sweetness, and it sells well because there are plenty of things you can easily make with it. I think it's fair to ask why the same thing didn't happen with butter. –  Jefromi Sep 6 '12 at 23:27
    
Try some raw unsweetened butter from a farm. Butter from the store is sweet –  EDabM Sep 7 '12 at 3:00
    
I'm not sure what store butter you've had, but the stuff I buy has zero grams of sugar, and it doesn't have sugar as an ingredient. Maybe it naturally has a very slightly sweet taste, but this is definitely not what the OP's talking about. (For example, sweetened condensed milk is a little over half sugar by weight.) –  Jefromi Sep 7 '12 at 4:06

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