If you don’t want to read this post and have just come for the recipe – which is fair enough – just scroll down to the bottom. If you like reading me, then stick around, friend, it’s lovely to have you.
So I’ve pondered whether to be dairy free over the last few years.
I’ve read dairy will make you fat. I’ve read dairy will boost your weight loss. I’ve read dairy will protect your bones; I’ve read dairy will filch calcium from your bones. I’ve read that dairy is full of hormones that will mess up your system; I’ve heard dairy will help balance your hormones.
Personally, I love dairy. I’ve always adored creamy sauces; melted cheese; cheese in quiches, sandwiches or even just a block to be nibbled on. Mozzarella? Oh my. Roquefort? I’m all your’s. Shall I move on from cheeses? Okay. Yoghurt. Oh Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts; black cherry yoghurt; hazelnut yoghurt. Full fat, low fat, no fat. Who cares? Just feed me yoghurt. And butter. Oh, butter. My mother, due to wartime rationing, which had excluded butter and made her childhood a thing of margerine misery, had vowed that from the moment she was able, she would never, ever have margerine in her house again; and no matter how poor we ever were, she never did. Butter was queen of our fridge.
Dairy. I love dairy.
And what, after all, is a baked potato that is not slathered in butter and cheese but a poor imitation of a baked potato?
But somehow over the last few years, I’ve fallen a little out of love with dairy, sufficient to be able to view it more dispassionately. And actually, for me it’s the ethical problem I have with dairy farming – to me, worse than meat farming – that’s been the decider. I’ve walked out on dairy, and I’m afraid – although she might not have accepted it yet – it really is over.
So, having experimented with a few recipes, this is my new dairy free butter; or Bootang, as I affectionately call it, because rather like Wu Tang Clan, it’s a lovely word to say.
As a little aside, it has very few ingredients. This isn’t because I don’t know my way around a kitchen; I really do. However, over the last few years I’ve become so sick of recipe lists that are so long that even I find myself overwhelmed and give up. I’ve come to think it’s really just showing off; and although I’m not a Jamie Oliver fan, I do think he’s caught the zeitgeist by bringing out a cookbook where no recipe has more than 5 ingredients.
So here, finally, at last is my unashamedly simple recipe for Bootang.
Bootang isn’t pretending to be butter; there can be no real Pretender to the butter crown. What it’s supposed to do is all the things butter does on, its own merits – bring depth of flavour when frying, add a little creamy saltiness when spreading, bring a little lipsmacking when melted over something.
It is a savoury recipe, although if you wanted, I’m sure you can adapt it for baking.
The nutritional yeast can mean it sticks a little if you fry at too high a heat, but for me it contributes enough to the flavour that it stays in. Leave out the saffron if you don’t have any, and are feeling a little stoney-broke. Strangely, TK Maxx has a section of gourmet foods going cheap, and they often have saffron strands. Just saying.
In a microwaveable bowl, combine 1 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup rapeseed oil. Microwave on full power for one minute, and then in 30 second bursts until the coconut oil is fully melted. Combine the oils with a fork, and then add 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsps nutritional yeast, 1/4 tsp turmeric and a pinch of saffron strands.
Beat lightly with a fork and leave to cool. When fully cooled, place in the fridge for an hour, then beat again with a fork to ensure elements combined. Repeat this every half an hour until you have a fully combined mixture with a buttery texture. You may still be able to see individual nutritional yeast flakes, but I think they’re rather pretty.
If you forget to check and then race to the fridge to find it’s a solid block – don’t worry. You may still be able to warm it enough by beating it to combine the elements. If not, leave it out for a little while until just slightly softened and then beat.
If you can be bothered – sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t – whisk the mixture just before it reaches solid. This adds a delicious lightness.
Store in a lovely glass jar in the fridge and use wherever you would have used salted butter.