Essentially, the term “butter” refers to a dairy based spread when not qualified by other nouns. However, when you add descriptors, you can have fruit butters, nut or seed butters, body butters (but I wouldn’t necessarily eat those), cocoa butters…you get the idea.
But what about vegan butter? Sounds like an oxymoron to you? Well, it’s perfectly legitimate to question that, considering what is commonly used as butter replacements in vegan recipes. Although I have used them in the past (sparingly), conventional vegan butter replacements are not my cup of tea. Not only are these “butters” loaded with hydrogenated oils (making them margarine instead of butter), the non- hydrogenated versions mostly contain palm oil, which is sadly attributed to rain forest destruction. But what about sustainable palm oil, you ask? I don’t know if that really exists or if it’s a marketing ploy…
Bottom line, I would prefer to use coconut oil or vegetable oils in recipes calling for butter (even vegan butter). Coconut oil works especially well, as you can gather from the recipes on here. I digress…
BUT, what about satisfying that craving for, say, butter on toast? Coconut oil doesn’t cut it. Not even close. Now, I’ve always been a “dry toast” kinda girl, but since I was introduced to the idea of making my own vegan butter, I’ve put that sh– on everything, and so will you. Steamed veggies, potatoes, scones…yes, yes, yes.
So what makes this recipe European style? European butters are cultured/fermented to add richness and depth of flavour. They are also exceptionally creamy. To achieve that for this recipe, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and salt are added to a base of nuts and vegetable oils. The nuts give this recipe that smooth and creamy base while the other ingredients mimic the taste of “culture”.
What you will soon discover is that this vegan butter recipe yields a final product remarkably like dairy butter. I encourage you to stick (no pun intended) around and delve into the wonderful world of homemade vegan butter.
Note: I have yet to use this vegan butter variation in baking. However, I note that other variations of vegan butter contain lecithin (not as scary as it sounds) which ultimately help the butter hold a shape at room temp and lends itself to being whipped/pipped. There is a great resource for other variations of vegan butter from Mattie at www.veganbaking.net (white chocolate vegan butter? yes please).
This recipe was inspired and adapted from Mattie at www.veganbaking.net
EUROPEAN STYLE DAIRY-FREE BUTTER
- 1/4 Cup + 2 TBSP Raw Cashews
- 5 TBSP Non Dairy Milk Unsweetened Coconut Milk was my choice
- 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
- 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
In a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix), add the cashews, non dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Blend these ingredients on high until all the cashews are broken down and you achieve a creamy consistency. Be sure to scrape down the inside and get any larger pieces that may have accumulated on the sides. Blend again. This step is approximately 1 minute of blending total.
Next, add in the sea salt (to taste), nutritional yeast, olive oil and melted coconut oil*. Blend the mixture on high for approximately 1 minute. *It's summer where we are so my coconut oil is already in a liquid state, but if you need to, simply pop it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds to turn it into liquid.
Once your mixture is very smooth and creamy looking, you're ready pour and shape your butter in a mold. There are several ways to shape your butter, butter; here are two versions that have worked well: use a silicon ice cube tray for square shapes [very pretty and easily portioned for brunch or breakfast]; OR use a 250 ml mason jar with a lid. The latter is my preferred method for reasons of presentation and ease of storage.
Once you have molded your butter, simply place it in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow it to set up, then, move it to the fridge for storage. It will stay firm and spreadable right from the cold for weeks.
Impress all your friends and family with this delicious, creamy vegan butter! It looks like butter, spreads like butter, melts like butter and tastes like butter...but it's not butter in the traditional sense: it's better.
This butter does not stay very solid at room temperature, so be sure to store it in the fridge for optimal texture. This butter will keep for a least a week, but that doesn't mean it won't last longer; I haven't actually uncovered how long because it's eaten before the week is up in our home. It also freezes well if you prefer to make a double batch and freeze some.