Butterfat, also called milkfat, is the fatty portion of milk. The components of milk include:
Carbohydrate, 4.9% (this is lactose, or milk sugar)
Fat, 3.4% (approximately 65% saturated fat, 29% monounsaturated fat and 6% polyunsaturated fat)
Protein, 3.3% (82% casein and 18% whey)
Vitamins (cobalamin [vitamin B12], folate, niacin [vitamin B3], pantothenic acid [vitamin B5], pyridoxine [vitamin B6], thiamin [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2, vitamins C, D, E and K)
Minerals (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc)
Minor biological proteins and enzymes (lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lipases, lactase) [Source]
It’s easy to make cream from milk and butter. Photo © Siberkorn | DRM .
The USDA imposes federal standards for the minimum butterfat content of commercial dairy products. Here are the standards:
BUTTERFAT CONTENT OF BUTTER
Butter, including whipped butter, must contain at least 80% butterfat.
Half and half contains 10.5%–18% butterfat (average 12%).
Light cream and sour cream contain 18%–30% butterfat (average 20%).
Light whipping cream* (often called simply “whipping cream”) contains 30%–36% butterfat (average 35%).
Heavy cream* contains a minimum of 36% butterfat, up to 38%.
BUTTERFAT CONTENT OF CREAM
Skim milk contains less than 0.5% butterfat, typically 0.1%.
Lowfat milk (1% and 2% varieties) contain between .5% and 2% butterfat.
Whole milk contains at least 3.25% butterfat.
BUTTERFAT CONTENT OF MILK
Dry curd and nonfat cottage cheese contain less than 0.5% butterfat.
Lowfat cottage cheese contains .5%–2% butterfat.
Cottage cheese contains at least 4% butterfat.
Swiss cheese contains at least 43% butterfat relative to the total solids.
Cheddar cheese contains at least 50% butterfat relative to the total solids.
BUTTERFAT CONTENT OF CHEESE
Sherbet contains 1%–2% butterfat.
Lowfat ice cream, also called ice milk, contains no more than 2.6% butterfat.
Ice cream contains at least 10% butterfat.
Frozen custard contains at least 10% butterfat, but it also must contain at least 1.4% egg yolk solids.
BUTTERFAT CONTENT OF FROZEN DESSERTS
*For whipped cream, the higher the fat content, the thicker the cream is, and the easier it is to whip into stiff peaks. Higher fat cream is also more resistant to curdling, and thus a better choice for soups and sauces.