As we enter baking season, one essential ingredient may be harder to find and more expensive than in the past: butter.
According to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, the amount of butter in cold storage recently hit its lowest level since 2017, thanks to a combination of labor shortages and lower milk production on US farms. As a result, the price of butter has skyrocketed, climbing 24.6% over the past 12 months. As the demand for butter increases during the holiday baking season, these limited supplies (and the costs that come with them) aren’t going anywhere.
A recent Market News Report from the USDA suggested similar trends. “In the North East and West, demand for cream is strong and local availability is limited. Butter makers in these regions say this helps reduce butter production,” the report says.
Meanwhile, buyers who put butter on the market “worry that record butter prices could cause a slowdown in retail demand”.
With so many pies, cookies, and cakes to bake this season, how should home cooks prepare for these butter-related shortcomings? Start by increasing the shelf life of your butter by storing it in the freezer: frozen butter will keep for at least several months, otherwise a whole year.
Alternatively, you can always turn to recipes that, instead of butter, rely on a different kind of fat—coconut oil, olive oil, and neutral-flavored vegetable oils are all strong contenders. Butter-free versions of pumpkin bread at ginger biscuitswe promise it won’t take long to find a new holiday favourite.
What is your favorite pastry without butter? Share in the comments!