Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter

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Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter

I've gotten into the habit of using various Vegan Butters in my baking projects. I like having the peace of mind in knowing I have complete control over what goes into it. These butters were designed to mimic real butter. But lately I’ve been noticing something. The same hard consistency that allows the butter to work well with creaming into cookie batter, cutting into pie crust dough and rolling with croissant dough can also be its downfall.
This firmness inhibits the butter from being enjoyed on a completely different level: being spread onto toasty pieces of hearth breads, smeared on steamy biscuits and dabbed on pancakes fresh off the griddle. In these cases, butters that are optimal for baking tend to sit on the food, desperately depending on the residual heat to allow them to melt so they hopefully spread out as they ooze along. Then while you’re eating, hopefully you’ll eventually get to the part with the melted butter on it. What a treat that’s going to be! It shouldn’t have to be this way.
So naturally, I’ve been using my Vegan Butters for baking only and I only noticed there was a problem when another type of commercial vegan butter somehow ended up in my refrigerator, unannounced. “How did that get in there?” I wondered. If I'm having trouble spreading Vegan Butter that's designed for baking, how many other people out there are having the same issues? Sharpen your butter knives, it's time to enjoy Spreadable Vegan Butter!

Spreadable Vegan Butter on bread

Let’s break some buttery rules

The most exciting part of developing this Vegan Butter was that I didn’t have to follow as many rules as I did when I worked on the vegan-baking-centric Vegan Butters. This is because we’re not emulating real butter from the ground up here. I decided to keep the fat-to-water ratio about the same as regular butter which is in the neighborhood of 80% fat, 20% water. Since we’re free to focus on spreadable, savory butteriness, let’s see what else we have in our food toolbox!

Not all extra virgin olive oils are created equal

Why not showcase the regal, grassy, earthy flavors of extra virgin olive oil and pair it with buttery flavors? This would make it a healthier and possibly more flavorful option than the commercial competition. To really drive olive oil notes, I recommend seeking out unfiltered extra virgin olive oil because it contains more tasty compounds such as polyphenols and terpenes. I’m a huge fan of unfiltered arbequina and kalamata extra virgin olive oils. Most of the stuff on the US market seems to be intentionally dumbed down and relatively light on flavor. Go forth and be bold ye olive oil taster! Don’t be afraid to try a variety of extra virgin olive oils and select what you prefer. No matter what type of olive oil you choose, keep in mind that the olive oil notes will be in the background due to it only consisting of about half of the overall fat content of this Vegan Butter. The ratio of fats is important because the refined coconut oil takes care of enabling just the firmness we need so things remain spreadable.

The subtle role of acids

Originally I preferred the light tang of apple cider vinegar in my Vegan Butters. Apple cider contains both malic acid as well as acetic acid. The malic acid profices a sharp, fruity tang followed by the acetic acid notes that can emulate cultured flavors. For some people this initial malic acid burst can be a bit much. It also tends to drop off rather quickly after its initial rush. Recently I’ve come to enjoy the smooth, soft acidity of coconut vinegar. I now prefer to combine these characteristics in my Vegan Butters so there's a more subtle fruity start which evolves into a drawn out, smooth and buttery finish that lingers longer on the palate. Of course all of this should be perceived in the background. If it's a little too strong for your liking, feel free to reduce the acid content. If you're having trouble locating coconut vinegar I recommend adding the full amount of apple cider vinegar.

Let’s upgrade the salt

Since we’re going to be spreading this vegan butter on our favorite eats, why not enhance it with a larger amount of a next-level salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon salt? That’ll elevate the olive oil and butter notes to Butter 2.0! Alright then! 
If you haven’t tried fleur de sel or Maldon salts for finishing, or sprinkling on top of already cooked or raw food like salads and bruschetta, you’re missing out. I’m obsessed with this stuff. These salts offer layers of complex, minerally, earthy saltiness. Normally you wouldn’t put them inside your food; they’re usually used strictly as finishing salts only. But since we’re breaking the rules, we’re going for it! Just please don’t tell anyone. 
Not into breaking the rules or having a hard time finding these salts? If you’re having difficulty ordering them online, there’s hope. Ready? Just use regular salt. Your vegan butter will still rival commercial spreadable vegan butter. I promise.
One of the caveats of using these types of salts is that they’re made up of large, rather strange looking flakes that don’t dissolve easily. This is one of the reasons these salts are used mostly for finishing. To get around this, I call for some extra time in the food processor so these little guys get a chance to dissolve completely.

Spreadable vegan butter prefers jars, not cubes

Since this Vegan Butter is spreadable, it’ll melt into your warm toast on-contact. This spreadability and meltability means that it should be poured into a mold resembling a small jar or bowl so it can be easily accessible by your spreading knife. That's right- no more juggling with cubes anymore! This spreadability also means that this Vegan Butter shouldn’t be left out of the refrigerator for extended periods. Since it’s not loaded with hydrocolloids like the commercial alternatives, it’ll eventually soften and liquify. In this case It'll need to be whizzed in the food processor and frozen to get back to its buttery self again.
The great thing about using a jar is that it makes your Vegan Butter even easier to make; just pour it into the mold and place it in the freezer so it solidifies quickly. An hour later, place the lid on, transfer it to the refrigerator and marvel at never having to buy the store-bought stuff again. I love wire bale jars because, hey, life is short. Why not store your vegan butter in a cute Bormioli Fido 200 mL wire bale jar? This size happens to hold exactly what this recipe makes.

Spreadable Vegan Butter in a jar
Be fearless when it comes to mixing up your Vegan Butter by adding fresh or dried herbs, swapping out the olive oil for hemp oil or swapping out the refined coconut oil with unrefined coconut oil. You could even include a dash of smoked paprika or other spice to see how it affects the savoriness. Oh and one more thing: smoked Maldon salt. It’s waiting for you when you’re ready.
This Vegan Butter is for spreading and general cooking only. For baking applications, use other non-spreadable vegan butters such as Regular Vegan Butter. This link also covers the food science of Vegan Butter in more detail.

Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter Recipe

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon coconut vinegar (if you can’t find coconut vinegar, substitute with ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar so the total is 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
4 grams fleur de sel, Maldon salt or regular salt (if you don’t have a scale, use ¾ + ⅛ teaspoon regular salt)
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil, melted
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ + ⅛ teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1) Curdle your soy milk

Place the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Mix your Vegan Butter ingredients

Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it and the olive oil to a food processor. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Add the soy milk mixture, soy lecithin and xanthan gum to the food processor. Process for 3 minutes then scrape down the sides with a spatula. Process for 3 additional minutes. This lengthy processing time is to allow the salt to dissolve completely. Pour the mixture into a shallow jar or other container and place it in the freezer to solidify with the lid removed so it solidifies as quickly as possible. A 7 ounce wire bale glass jar or similar container works well. The Vegan Butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Makes about 1 cup (215 grams), or 8 fluid ounces Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter.

For more Vegan Butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter recipe section.

Get a price on the Liquid Soy Lecithin I Recommend at Amazon.

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Looks fab!

Hi, this recipe looks fab. Can anyone advise if they think I could substitute the coconut oil? I have been advised not to use it but would to make a vegan spread that I can use on a daily basis that is natural. I live in the UK and I can't find anything without added palm oil or Coconut oil Thanks in advance for any replies.

Owner's reply

Hi Nina! Unfortunately it's really difficult to substitute the coconut oil with another fat because it's integral to providing the overall texture of the vegan butter. You could use deodorized cocoa butter but then you'd need to increase the ratio of olive oil to cocoa butter. This is because cocoa butter is more solid at room temperature than coconut oil is. A proper balance between the fats is necessary in order to have the proper texture.

The good news is that coconut oil really isn't that bad for you, especially compared to animal-based saturated fats. That means this vegan butter is significantly healthier than animal-based butter. Yay!

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I am on my way to vegan, nearly there, but do miss my butter! Finally got around to making this O O spread. Yummo! Satisfies my yen for butter. It was an ad, "Milk separates Families" that was a deciding factor in my journey to being Vegan. I made the spread in my Thermomix,...one thing, my soy lecithin granules did not quite 'dissolve'... Next time, I will grind them first, & maybe I didn't process on a high enough speed, but hey, I'm a happy camper! Thanks so much!

Owner's reply

So glad you like the Vegan Butter Cecily! Yes, the lecithin granules can have issues dissolving properly. I recommend allowing them to "soak" in the melted liquid for about 10 minutes before processing the mixture for two separate five minute intervals. Good luck!

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This is a great recipe and a wonderful addition to our vegan pantry. It's easy to make and tastes so close to the real thing! We have avoided the synthetic vegan butters from the store so it's been a real treat to have butter on fresh bread again. Thanks!

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Metric units please!

I'd like to try this, but can you post metric quantities please. The idea of measuring out "¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon" of a solid fat makes me laugh - it would take half the morning! Just use digital scales and it will take seconds.

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Spreadable vegan butter

Mine looks like the picture, and is spreadable, but tastes like coconut oil. This is disappointing.

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Soymilk substitute

I'd love to try this recipe, but was wondering if you could suggest a soymilk substitute that would work well in this type of recipe. I have an allergy to soy. Thanks!

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great with modifications

I read the reviews before I made this, and decided to use half olive oil and half canola oil. I'm glad I did - I could definitely taste the olive oil but it wasn't overwhelming. I think that if I had used all olive oil, it would have been too strong. The olive oil taste was not as strong after the spread cooled completely. I also cut the salt - I had just made the vegan butter and thought it was a bit too salty. I don't have much a taste for salt so it may be fine as written if you like things salty. As others mentioned on the butter page, I soaked the soy lecithin granules with the soymilk and vinegar, which I think made them dissolve better.

With these small tweaks, the spread is delicious. It tastes much more rich and fresh than tub vegan spread. I've used it as a spread on toast and for cooking. My husband (not vegan) uses it to cook eggs and says it's as good as butter. I'll definitely keep making this over buying earth balance!

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Damn good spread

Well I made this but unfortunately I made it with really strong virgin olive oil and neither I or my husband liked the taste much. However I then made it again with neutral tasting rapeseed oil (plus a mix of Maldon salt and sel de Guerande) and ended up with a bloody delicious spread that spreads out of the fridge. Pretty much what I've been looking for. Matty you are a splendid chap!!

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I absolutely adore your butter recipes and the passionate curiosity that drives them. I have just made your olive oil butter and am about to make the miso tahini one again as it's a favourite spread and it keeps really well. I do have one request. I live in England and am used to measuring in grams and ml and find the measuring of your recipes the trickiest part. Could you show the liquids measured in ml and solids in grams? And what I'd find really helpful would be to have the coconut oil in grams as it is solid at room temperature here and I can make it liquid as I blend it with my hand held blender - that way it's still pretty close to room temperature without me having had to melt it and then cool it again slightly. Again thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful culinary experiments.

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homemade mayo

You may also contemplate that mayonaise is generally a form of Jellied Oil. Regular mayo has a bit of essence to it, but it's not difficult to think about producing homemade mayo in a way that particularly reduces the addition of other tastes. I can attest that a grilled cheese made by placing mayo on the outer faces of the bread works just fine.

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Too olive oil-y

I've made the coconut butter a few times and really like it. I thought I'd give this a try for something more spreadable, and even though an olive oil taste was anticipated, it was much more than "background notes". I don't think I will make this again. I did add a pinch of turmeric for color, so it looks more like butter :)

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Crunchy salt

Hi Matt,

I am from near the region that produces fleur de sel and most sea salt from France in general (Guérande). I have a life-long love affair with salt (seriously, I keep some fleur de sel in my bag and eat little crystals), and until veganism happened, in a love affair with the other star product of Brittany: butter, and specifically butter with fleur de sel crystals, unmixed, for the whole crunchy delicious experience.

I've been dying to have some again - it was the best spread in the world in my opinion, and the perfect complement to jam - and I was wondering how I could modify this recipe to emulate that without having the salt crystals sink to the bottom or dissolve because of the warmth of the mixture. Does some portion of the salt have to be processed for the emulsion to happen?


Owner's reply

Hi Nolwenn! How interesting about the butter in Brittany featuring flakes of intact fleur de sel crystals! I'd love to try that. Luckily it should be pretty easy to add to this recipe: adding the fleur de sel at the very end and pulsing the food processor (or giving the crystals a quick three second whisk in the vegan butter mixture) before pouring it into the molds should do it.

The salt plays no role in the emulsification process. You could even have some of the crystals mixed earlier and some at the very end so you'd have a moderately salty Vegan Butter with the texture and salty bursts of intensity of the intact crystals!

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What timing!

Matty the timing is incredible. Just got done watching a program about the crap ingredients in margarine and thought I should go back to making my own...I wondered if there was a recipe out there with olive oil and vegan baking was the first place I went (having tried the lovely vegan coconut butter recipe) and this recipe was on the first page! Are you telepathic? Going to try this right now.

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