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Jun 23, 2002 02:25 AM

Plugra: more fat than regular butter?

  • j

I've read all the posts exclaiming the virtures of Plugra so I bought some today @ Trader Joe's. I thought Plugra had more fat than regular butter but realized it didn't make sense. Butter is 100% fat so how could Plugra be +100% fat? The Plugra label says one tablespoon has 100 calories w/ 100 calories from fat; 11 grams of fat; ingredients: cream, natural flavors. The regular Trader Joe's butter has the same calories and the same fat grams; ingredients: pasteurized cream, salt, annatto (for color). So what's the dif? Where does plugra get the more intense, rich taste?

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  1. Butter is made from nearly 100% cream, not 100% butter fat. There can be a lot of air and water mixed in. Plugra has less water and air, giving it a higher percentage of butterfat than other butters.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Regular butter is 80% fat, with the balance composed of milk solids and water. Plugra is 82% fat.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Ahhh--that makes sense. Thx, Melanie. And yet another Chowhound-inspired addition to my Trader Joe's shopping list.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The difference between 80% and 82% fat amounts to less than 1/2 teaspoon of extra fat per stick. If Plugra is in fact "better" than regular butter, I find it hard to believe that the 1/2 teaspoon is responsible.

        2. a

          On the subject of butter, Jana butter from the Czech Republic, available at Whole Foods stores here in New England at least, has (I think) the same fat content as Plugra, is delicious, and much cheaper, $1.99 for 250g (1/2lb). A bargain.

          10 Replies
          1. re: anglo-estonian

            Thx for the suggestion but Plugra is only $2.89 a pound at Trader Joe's.

            1. re: jenniferfishwilson

              They're ripping us off at Whole Foods in Providence then! Though I thought it (Plugra) was sold in the European 250g format rather than the standard American lb. Which means that Plugra is cheaper than Land'o'Lakes and the like, making it a bargain of bargains.

              1. re: anglo-estonian

                Oh my God! Do you think its possible that Whole Foods is ripping people off??

                1. re: Jim H.

                  Ha ha I'm sure they wouldn't dream of it!

                  I'm going to check those prices again, though.

                  1. re: Jim H.

                    six dollar loaves of bread? Soy coffee substitute that sells for more than real coffee (and according to them is "just as satisfying")? Naw, not them. I thought ripping off consumers was politically incorrect and "bad Karma".

                    Off topic here but I got a rise out of Hippy Dippy Fish Monger at Whole Foods when I made the mistake of asking
                    for Sea Bass. After his screed about overfishing, Globalization, George Bush, The WTO and the fate of the Endangered Albino Wombat, I asked him what else he had that was close so I could eat my Sea Bass in Effigy.

                    Of course holding my fist in the air and Saying "save the Sea Bass mah brutha" didn't help his blood pressure
                    any. After serving me he raced out from behind the counter so fast he almost tripped over the shaman drumming circle.

                    I know. I know. Stick to the subject matter and be nice.

                    1. re: Pat I.
                      Buen Provecho

                      Oh my God - nice or not that was/is hysterical!! Do you live in Seattle by any chance? Your description sounds right on the money for this area. Thanks for giving me a nose snortin' laugh.

                      1. re: Buen Provecho

                        Believe it or not I live In South Jersey. The odd thing is watching all the well-to-earth weenies bask in the glory of organic food and political correctness while their range rovers are double parked (and running)outside the store.

                        Don't get me started. I asked one of them for REAL hotdogs - after showing me turkey dogs, Peace Brats, Soy dogs Ect and I swear he was gonna rip of his "free leonard Peltier" shirt and turn into the incredible hulk.

                        Go into the "bacon" section and read blurbs on the packages of smoked items. It's almost as if their apologizing for carrying something that resembles a conventional food item (but not by much).

                        1. re: Pat I.
                          Buen Provecho

                          Yeah, I totally take your point about the Range Rovers - we really have to watch out around here in the "Silicon Forest" to avoid being run over by those guys while they swill their soy milk chais (which I like myself to be perfectly honest), and yak on their cell phones. My husband used to work at the local Land Rover dealership, and the next time you want to get a yuppie's goat, just let it slip that the engines are made by Buick/General Motors and the only thing truly Land Roverish about them anymore are the transmissions.

                          As for attention to karma and PCishness, I can say that Seattle is way up there (your description of the drumming circle was what made me snort - we actually have a drumming school in our neighborhood) - I spent my teen years in the Philly area and later moved west, so being here is a really noticeable change.

                          I shop at a smaller grocery store around here that isn't populated with smoked food apologists. Bacon rules!!

              2. re: anglo-estonian

                Thanks for the tip on Jana butter at Whole Foods -- I had some at a restaurant a couple of months ago and it was so good I asked what it was. I'll check and see if Whole Foods on the West Coast carries it also.

                After that experience and all the butter talk on chowhound I bought some premium butters and got hooked on Vermont Cultured Butter ($4.69/lb at Berkeley Bowl), but Plugra from TJ's did almost as well -- my sister in fact preferred the Plugra and was shocked that it was comparable in price to "regular" butter. One difference I've noticed is that neither of these butters gets as oily at room temperature as "regular" butter -- they stay firmer and creamier.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The Jana is excellent for baking too. I think that just 1 or 2 extra % fat really does make a difference.

              3. m
                Molly Symmonds

                Cook's Illustrated did a long piece on butter and a taste test; the report is on pages 24-26 of May/June '98 issue. I'm quoting the piece: "European butters and Plugra (Keller's Creamery, Harleysville, Pennsylvania) contain 82 to 88 percent milk fat. All butters contain about 2 percent milk solids and the remainder is water."

                Plugra (which is an American-made European-style product) took first in their melted-butter and buttercream tastings, but third in a pie crust test. Cook's suggests not storing butter in the refrigerator's door compartment, which tends to be warmer, but rather in its original wrapper in the center of the fridge. Better yet, store butter in sealed airtight plastic bags in the freezer, where it will keep for several months versus two to three weeks in the fridge.

                Land o' Lakes (Minnesota) took first in the plain eating contest. One of the most important facts to come out of the test was that, as someone observed,
                higher-fat butters take longer to fully melt, therefore pie crusts made with them should probably be cooked a little longer. Cook's concluded that butter's freshness was extremely important; consumers should try to buy butter from a store that has a high product turnover.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Molly Symmonds
                  Molly Symmonds

                  I left out an important fact from the article: "All butter must consist of at least 80 percent milk fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agricultural standards. Most commercial butters do not exceed this. European butters and Hotel Bar's Plugra are exceptions..."

                  I am no food scientist, but I think that butter is labeled as 100% fat because it doesn't contain (or contains negligble amounts, perhaps) protein, carbohydrates, etc. It is overwhipped cream, "churned into a semisolid mass of butter (Cook's again), [and] any remaining liquid is drawn off as buttermilk." The breakdown seems to be anywhere from 80-88 percent milk fat, 2 percent milk solids (skimmed off when making drawn butter), and water.


                2. Hi:

                  We use 82% butter for laminated doughs, (croissant, pate feuilletee) and brioche.

                  While it is true, butters like plugra, and kerrygold at 82% and cabot at 83% do not seem to make that much of difference in fat content, I assure you they make a difference. And it's not just the fat content.

                  Normal churning will provide a normal fat content: 80%. Slow churning and a different process makes the butter better, and the fat content increase is a result of that process.

                  So if you make laminated doughs or brioche, try this: bake one run with normal Kellers unsalted, and try a run with Plugra unsalted and see for yourself.

                  In all of our other runs we use a nomral, high grade, normal fat content 80% butter.

                  Also, salt in butter is used as a preservative. Careful using salted butter for baking as you can't control the amount of salt, and the butter may be older than you like!

                  Good baking to you!

                  Adagio Bakery & Cafe