One of the most important consumer attributes of butter is the pleasing flavor. Butter flavor is made up of many volatile and nonvolatile compounds. Researchers have identified more than 40 neutral volatiles, of which the most prominent are lactones, ethyl esters, ketones, aldehydes, and free fatty acids (26). The nonvolatiles, of which salt (sodium chloride) is the most prominent, contribute to a balanced flavor profile. Diacetyl and dimethyl sulfide also contribute, especially in cultured butter flavor (27).

Ripened or cultured creams use lactic acid bacterial cultures selected for their ability to produce volatile acid and diactyl flavors. The NIZO (Dutch Research Institute for Dairy) process was developed to incorporate concentrated lactic starters or to directly inject starter distillates to produce the flavor and characteristics of cultured butter (25). In the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and the United States, sweet cream, salted butter is primarily used, but in France, Federal Republic of Germany, and Scandinavia, the taste of cultured butter is preferred (6).

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