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I received a small tub of goat butter for Christmas, and unfortunately I left it too close to my stove last night, and the whole thing melted. (just the butter, nor the plastic obviously.)

I read that melted butter doesn't solidify correctly because it has a crystalline structure that's broken by the heat.

... Which sounds an awful lot like cocoa butter to me, and I've successfully tempered chocolate (or close enough) by using seed crystals of not-melted cocoa butter until it reaches the correct temperature.

Google is very confused by my question, so I'm reaching out here. Is there a way to temper melted animal butter to return it to its original crystalline structure?

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No, you cannot temper it. Chocolate is pretty much the only edible product where tempering is worth it.

"sounds an awful lot like cocoa butter" - only because the explanation you came across was not detailed enough. Cocoa butter is a much simpler case. Only three fatty acids (oleic, stearic and palmitic acid) account for over 95% of its composition, and it so happens that, when cooled under the right conditions, they form a regular lattice with very pleasant sensory properties.

Butter, on the other hand, is not just any old crystalline lattice. It is a complicated emulsion:

The fat globules, solid crystals, and water droplets are embedded in a continuous mass of semisolid “free” fat that coats them all. *

So you start out with the mammal's udder packing fat into globules, which have their own membrane. When the butter is churned, most globules split, and out comes the semisolid fat. The solid fat crystals start clumping into each other, and some of the water comes out of emulsion (=buttermilk, in the original meaning of the word). Then you remove that free water, and you are left with a mix of structurally complicated components. It is not a single regular structure, and there is no mechanism for it to self-order, the way cocoa butter does.

Bottom line, you are left with goat butterfat now. It will never go back to be butter, but as a consolation, it is still perfectly edible.


* McGee On Food and Cooking

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I have had success tempering butter.

I temper butter to use in pastries and to store it in a coldroom for a longer period of time. although that is with Cow milk.

My process is heating it to the point of just being melted and hold it there for ten minutes or so while fairly aggressively stirring. After that I remove it from there and place it a cold container in the fridge uncovered until it has cooled a bit, I'll do a short vigorous stir as I see some solidification. The reason is to emulsify proteins, fat and liquid, The temperature change is the only way to do this. Following that I put it in the fridge uncovered until it has solidified and then do the process again, this time stirring while heating and removing from heat once the butter has melted.

Cool to hot and hot to cold is the way temperature emulsifying is achieved in cooking. Its the same as Chocolate, roex, and its how they make the 50/50 oil/butter products. The reason the goat milk solidified and separated the way it did is because the protein and fats were heated to different temperatures and not brought back down quickly.

If you wanted to try a chemical emulation you could ask for some phosphate from your butcher and use a VERY small amount (0.5% of your total ingredient weight) and whisk or food processor it at a speed that will not whip it.

Good luck!

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