Find your recipes and restaurants here

Baking without butter: How to cope during SA's current butter shortage

Worried that the quality of your baking is going to take a nosedive when you can't get your hands on any butter? Read this!

by: Tessa Purdon | 06 Sep 2017

(image: iStock) 

This whole butter shortage thing is actually real. Some thought it was a hoax but it's true - we're experiencing a real scarcity of butter in SA but before you hurl your pitchfork at the nearest Banter, there are a couple of reasons for this that may surprise you... 

Firstly, it's important to note that butter is made from cream, so there's a shortage of cream too. This makes sense if you just think of the recent furore of people switching from fat-free dairy to full-cream (or even double cream), which means that the demand for creamier products is higher and therefore there's not much left with which to make butter. Not only that. There's also less milk available!

Environmental factors are another influence. The chief economist of the Milk Producers’ Organisation, Koos Coetzee, told The Mail and Guardian that the drop in milk production is a “natural process, largely governed by climatic and economic factors”. 

Echoing this, Chris Van Dijk who is head of the Milk Producers Organisation explained to The Daily Dispatch that "due to the drought‚ South Africa was expected to produce 2.9 billion litres of milk‚ down from the usual 3.1 billion litres annually". 

ALSO READ: Less than normal rain predicted

Even though there's a local shortage, you'll still be able to find imported butter in supermarkets (but be prepared to come face to face with a hefty price tag!). This is all rather dismal news for keen bakers because let's face it... what is a rich shortcrust pastry without butter?! And how about your favourite vanilla cake icing? But before you throw out your spatulas, there's hope! 

We're here to show you some simple butter swaps you can make in your everyday baking. 

1. If the recipe calls for melted butter, swap it out with any melted fat – coconut oil or vegetable oil. If softened butter is required (eg. 'cream butter and sugar together'), it is best to use a vegan margarine like Flora, Cardin or Ole. 

2. Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado. It works well with muffins! (Use this method while avocados are in season otherwise, you'll also be paying through your nose for them). 

3. Unsweetened applesauce - use half of the amount of applesauce as the amount of butter that is called for in the recipe.

Need some recipes to practise your butter-less baking? Try these:

Chocolate nut brittle cake

Butter-free brownies

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Turmeric and poppy seed cookies

Milk tart

Chocolate cake

ALSO READ: 5 Dairy-free milk alternatives to consider when cutting out cow's milk

Read more on: butter  |  recipes  |  baking

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.