Reader Lars writes:
I do a lot of baking and I was wondering if you would be willing to impart some wisdom to me. I tend to prefer the higher fat European butters. What I was wondering is how much adjustment in my baking recipes need to be made for these extra fat butters?
Interesting question, Lars! Would you believe that on average American and European butters only differ in fat content by two or three percentage points? Given that, you don’t need to vary your formulas at all (moisture isn’t an issue). They are a little more acidic since the cream they contain is slightly fermented, but not enough to throw off chemical leavening reactions.
Now that I think about it I tend to avoid European butters for creaming-type applications generally. I don’t use it for cookies, creaming method-type layer cakes or most muffins (which actually aren’t made strictly via The Muffin Method, at least if they have butter in them). European bakers tend to have a lot of trouble with these sorts of classic American preparations. Their butter is probably a big part of the reason.