The Real Reason Baked Sweets Usually Need So Much Butter

Although it often gets a bad rap, butter isn't as bad for your health as you might think, and you might want to consider eating butter instead of margarine. Of course, this doesn't mean you should be consuming too much butter, but when it comes to creating baked sweets, you often need a stick or two of butter. So what's the reason for all this butter, and should you use a little less butter in your recipes? 

While you can experiment with leaving a little butter out of your recipes, don't cut too much out. Buttercream Bakeshop says that if you skip out on your butter, your dessert could come out crumbly or not rich enough, especially if you aren't using a proper butter substitute. Though there are a lot of great substitutes for butter, not everything is going to work in a dessert, so whether you're baking cakes or cookies, be sure to do your research to find the best alternative to butter if you've run out of the ingredient.

What does butter do in baked sweets?

Butter has a few different functions in making baked goods taste as delicious as they do, which is why it's important to include the right amounts of it. According to Baker Bettie, one of the major purposes of butter (and any other types of fat in baking) is to make sure your baked goods are tender. Essentially, Baker Bettie says, "When fat coats flour, it serves to slow down the process of gluten formation creating a more tender product."

The Institute of Culinary Education's blog explains that butter is important in flaky pastries like croissants because the water in butter makes steam once it's in the oven. The blog also says that butter can make baked goods last longer and concludes that you really should use the right amount of butter when baking! And don't forget that brown butter really makes baked treats shine. However, if you need to swap out your butter, or you run out, The Kitchn has a list of alternatives for baking.