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Butter-vegetable oil mix Outside Finland and other Nordic countries, one of the major disadvantages is the lack of good-tasting butter substitutes made without hydrogenated fats.

While using only top-quality butters (Finnish/Scandinavian, or, in lack of the former, French) in most cooking and baking requiring butter, I prefer to use "healthier" and/or lower-fat butter-vegetable oil mixtures, like the Finnish Oivariini, as daily sandwich spread. Not only have these a more beneficial balance between unsaturated and saturated fats, most of them also maintain the good flavour of butter and are easily spreadable taken straight out of refrigerator, thanks to the added non-hydrogenated vegetable oil (and/or water).

Here is a simple recipe for a butter-based, soft-from-the-fridge spread imitating the commercially made low-fat Finnish butter-vegetable oil spreads (like the brand KevytLevi), but without the many additives some of them contain. It is best to use as neutral-tasting vegetable oil as possible, as strong-tasting oils easily mask the flavour of butter.

However, if used as a sole topping on bread or toast, I would use real, pure butter instead of this mix.

Note: because of the high water content, this spread is not suitable to be used in frying or baking.
Leave out the water, and you can use the mixture in cooking  —  this way the total fat content will be even higher than in plain butter, yet the amount of saturated fat will still be lower. Also, the taste of the spread will be better, not as "watery".

80 g top-quality butter
60 ml (60 g) good-quality, light-tasting vegetable oil (
eg turnip rape, sunflower seed, corn)
80 ml (80 g) water
(1 - 2 g sea salt (
eg "Maldon"), if the butter used is unsalted)

Cut the butter in cubes, place in the mixing beaker of a hand/immersion blender and leave to soften at room temperature.

If the butter is unsalted, and you want to add salt, grind it first in a mortar into a very fine powder and pour in the beaker. Pour in the oil and water. Insert the blender into the beaker and mix on high speed, moving the blender up and down, until the mixture is completely smooth and emulsified.

Pour the mixture in some suitable, thoroughly clean airtight (preferably ceramic or glass) container and seal with a lid. Place in refrigerator until firm and store refrigerated. Use as a spread on sandwiches. Only make a small batch of the spread at a time, so you will not have to worry about how long it will keep unspoiled. However, it is best to use the spread within one to two weeks.

Instead of an immersion blender, you can mix the ingredients using an electric mixer. In this case, first add the oil in the soft butter little at a time, beating vigorously, then add the water in a thin stream, beating vigorously until smooth.
Makes about 220 grams/220 millilitres of spread.

Recipe source: adapted from various Finnish sources.


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