Buttermaking / AMF / Butteroil


Butter is made from milkfat (cream) usually separated from the milk to 40% fat and then aged overnight in a controlled temperature and gently agitated tank (Ageing tank) at approximately 12 C.

The ageing process allows the fat to partially crystallise and during the crystallisation process heat is released causing a temperature rise in the cream hence the necessity for gentle agitation and controlled temperature.

The better the control of the fat % and the temperature of crystallization, the more consistent the butter should be, so for volume manufacturing with continuous buttermaking, attention to detail is critical to ensure optimised yields.

A 1% variation in moisture and salt content due to processing variation can be very costly to manufacturers as the legal imit of 16% can not be exceeded so the moisture loss is a physical loss of profit / yield.

Continuous buttermakers ideally would have a cream tempering section which would preheat or precool the cream to a consistent controlled temperature to feed to the continuous buttermaker to ensure process consistenty.

The cream feed rate should also be controllable.

The continuous buttermaker would ideally have cooling on the barrel and also a facility to recycle back to the tank in the event of a stoppage or breakdown.

Salt is generally dosed in a water / slurry form into the working section of the buttermaker.

Buttermilk can be partially recycled to the working section when required but generally it is passed theough a sieve to recover fines and grains and separated, pasteurized or simply spray dried and sold as buttermilk powder.

Some manufacturers will add back a small quantity, pasteurized back to the raw milk silos where it is then reprocessed in the usual way with the raw milk and this can reduce wastage / losses but care needs to be taken that this does not contravene any finished product specifications.

The butter exiting from the barrel can go direct to a packing machine or into a buffer tank prior to the packing machine.

Bulk butter is generally filled into a coloured polythene liner directly into a cardboard box (bulk 25kg) after which it is sealed, coded and dated and put either into chilled storage or more frequently into frozen storage with sample boxes kept until the next day for grading.

Grading is done on a free moisture, greasiness, salt, taste and appearance basis ensuring a smooth finish ( butter grading is quite specialist and we can instruct you on how to do this as it requires demonstration)

Once laboratory results on yeasts and moulds, coliforms, moisture and salt etc. are available these are matched with the grading results and the is butter released, as appropriate.

The shelf life on chilled butter is generally about six weeks but butter can be frozen for a year and then packed for retail sale with a six week chilled shelf life.

One of the biggest risks to manufacturers is Yeast and moulds and coliforms so attention to detail is required in manufacturing controls.

In the EU cream would generally be pasteurised at about 80c, but in developing countries it is sometimes higher due to higher levels of contamination.

Butter making

  • Sweet cream butter
  • Salted butter (usually 2 to 4 %)
  • Acidified or cultured cream butter
  • Flavoured butter
  • Butteroil

Butter is generally described as a water in oil emulsion and in most countries has a legal definition and specification which is typically not more than 15% moisture and 2% to 4% salt.

Middle Eastern countries tend to predominate with Un-salted butters and Lactic (soured) butter or the lactic flavouring is added for ease of manufacture.

For more information or to discuss your requirements please contact us.

Contact John Watson

John Watson
Office: +44 1224 861 507
Mobile: +44 7931 776 499


We are a longstanding member of the Society of Dairy Technology and have Fellowship of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.


Dairy Consultant Locations
Copyright © 2018 - JWC Services Limited Registered in Scotland No. SC246124