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question about butter

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thegreekone May 9, 2007 01:07 PM

Charentes-Poitou, Luprak, or Plugra? I don't bake, I just like my butter to be rich and flavorful. I also know that butter from europe, as a rule, has much less water content than american butter, no?

thanks!

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  1. Tartinet RE: thegreekone May 9, 2007 01:37 PM

    I'm a huge fan of Vermont Butter & Cheese's Cultured Butter. I don't know if it's nationally available, but I get it at a Whole Foods in Rhode Island. It is flavorful, lightly salted, and delicious. If you have some perfect spring vegetables, they are the ideal vehicle. Well, that or an outstanding bread.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tartinet
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      smartie RE: Tartinet May 9, 2007 08:01 PM

      Kerrigold.

      Lurpack is ok but I like mine saltier.

      1. re: Tartinet
        Non Cognomina RE: Tartinet May 10, 2007 07:21 PM

        A second vote for Vermont Butter & Cheese!

        1. re: Non Cognomina
          jpschust RE: Non Cognomina May 11, 2007 11:33 AM

          I'll third it- too bad it's not being sold as much in the DC area right now. it's stunning.

      2. l
        Laurella RE: thegreekone May 10, 2007 10:12 AM

        Of the non-local nice butters we can get in Seattle, we've determined after much sampling that we prefer the Celles sur Belle French butter (unsalted). E thought he preferred slightly salted butter for eating on bread, etc, until we started trying 'premium' butters. Now he finds that he prefers the unsalted (which I've always preferred, myself). Here are some we tried that were okay but we didn't love: Kerrygold, Plugra, Vermont Butter & Cheese company, Double Devon Cream butter (from Trader Joe's), and a French butter in a blue and white checked package (name escapes me, but I'm thinking it was from Brittany) with large flakes of sea salt in it.
        Celles sur Belle was the hands-down winner for its well-rounded flavor.

        1. Zeldog RE: thegreekone May 10, 2007 01:11 PM

          The SF Chronicle did a taste test of european style butters. Challenge European Style edged out Lurpak, but "best" is largely a matter of personal taste. The descriptions in the article may be helpful, but you really need to do your own side by side taste test.

          European butters have a higher fat content (I guess that also means less water, but % fat is what they list on the label) and the cream is allowed to sour slightly before churning.

          http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zeldog
            Melanie Wong RE: Zeldog May 10, 2007 07:52 PM

            Here's a thread discussing those results.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35094...

          2. cayjohan RE: thegreekone May 10, 2007 10:53 PM

            Y'know, the Land o' Lakes salted is really quite, quite good. We foray into Hope Creamery (very good) and Plugra on occasion, but have been extremely happy with the L o' L. More affordable than some, also -- bring on the butter!

            3 Replies
            1. re: cayjohan
              j
              jackrugby RE: cayjohan May 11, 2007 10:48 AM

              I second Land o' Lakes, both salter and unsalted.

              1. re: jackrugby
                jpschust RE: jackrugby May 11, 2007 11:33 AM

                The salinity content of the salted is way too varied for me to cook with.

              2. re: cayjohan
                jfood RE: cayjohan May 15, 2007 05:51 AM

                Jfood is also a big fan of LOL. Purchased some Cabot's when the grocer was out of LOL and it was not very good. The Mrs jfood's mom brought over some, jfood thinks the name was Amy's, butter from northern CT, somewhere. It was really good. Jfood keeps looking for it in the local grocer and hasn't found.

              3. m
                markethej RE: thegreekone May 12, 2007 08:12 PM

                Cook's Illustrated did a blind taste test recently and claimed they could not come up with any definitive results....butter is butter. I don't know if I agree, because I think Plugra certainly tastes different and I like it. They did point out that fat % are very marginal.

                4 Replies
                1. re: markethej
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                  amyvc RE: markethej May 15, 2007 01:27 PM

                  I'd love for them to do a blind taste test of some of the butter heavy recipes in which I make sure to use Plugra (or one of the others) like poundcake or shortbread. I'll bet the results are different!

                  1. re: markethej
                    h
                    HLing RE: markethej May 15, 2007 03:55 PM

                    You do mean that Cook's Illustrated's blind taste in cooking and baking with butter, right?

                    1. re: HLing
                      a
                      amyvc RE: HLing May 17, 2007 03:27 PM

                      Didn't read the article. I was just commenting on what the previous poster had written where it was not mentioned that it also included baking - I guess you know more about the article than me. Either way, I taste the difference in what I make when I cook with European butter.

                    2. re: markethej
                      tarepanda RE: markethej Nov 6, 2007 07:42 AM

                      I found that hard to believe. Last week for fun I did a butter tasting w my friends. (Vermont, Kerrigold, Lanzarana? fm WFM, and Parmaggiano) Just average folks, some cannot even be called a foodie, nobody is a chef or restaurant critic, but we can all tell the difference and name our favorites.

                      Vermont gets the majority vote. (a guy insisted that Kerrigold is the best but changed his mind after tasting Vermont) Some like the Parmaggiano butter, and some don't mind the good old LoL. We didn't have Plugra or Isigny. Would like to try that one too. And the goat butter as well.

                      And then the next day I went to Panera and when I spreaded the butter on my butter - I know I have been spoilt!! Ack!

                    3. s
                      stolenchange RE: thegreekone May 12, 2007 11:26 PM

                      I love KerryGold. Very rich and salty. And just wonderful on fresh bread. But I'm Irish, so perhaps I'm biased? ;)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: stolenchange
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                        nyfoodjoe RE: stolenchange May 12, 2007 11:42 PM

                        I have cooked with many of the butters that you mentioned above....both at home at in a professional kitchen...nobody ...in my mind can tell the difference

                        1. re: nyfoodjoe
                          m
                          markethej RE: nyfoodjoe May 13, 2007 07:05 PM

                          that was pretty much the concensus of the Cook's Illustrated article.

                      2. k
                        Kagey RE: thegreekone May 15, 2007 04:51 AM

                        Try them all and choose for yourself. I like Lurpak but haven't tried the other two (I live in the UK). European/British butter is certainly less watery than American butter. I notice that when left out at room temperature, it stays firmer than American butter. I can't imagine that the water content would be an issue for you if you don't bake. I don't find it to be much of an issue, and I do bake. I think my baked things turn out a little richer, though.

                        1. e
                          emilief RE: thegreekone May 15, 2007 02:03 PM

                          Don't know if you can get it where you are but in the Boston area whole Foods sells Kate;s HOmemade butter with sea salt and unsalted from Maine. Excellent Butter.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: emilief
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                            chowpiggy RE: emilief May 15, 2007 02:21 PM

                            I like the Danish butter the best, it has a nice balance of fat and salty. I also like the vermont country butter.

                            1. re: chowpiggy
                              chef chicklet RE: chowpiggy May 18, 2007 08:57 AM

                              Yes I do too, when I can find it. I like it for eating with bread. I don't know enough about baking yet to notice the diffences. So far LOL or Challenge has been my choice for baking, But would love to see the differences and how much of a difference they make. Never say never!

                          2. UnConundrum RE: thegreekone May 16, 2007 06:10 PM

                            I learned about the Smith Creamery about two years ago from a Rosengarten report. I've been buying from them since. They'll ship anywhere in the US and I find the price to be quite reasonable. Their url is http://www.smithcreamery.com/ . While I can't address cooking with butter, there is no question that I can tell the difference when spread on a piece of homemade bread. Not all butters are equal.

                            1. s
                              soupkitten RE: thegreekone May 17, 2007 03:50 PM

                              this is my favorite butter

                              http://www.pastureland.coop/Butter.htm

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: soupkitten
                                chef chicklet RE: soupkitten May 18, 2007 09:00 AM

                                Thanks soupkitten, I just sent them an email. I noted they don't serve CA retail. Maybe they ship. What is it that you like about it? Do you use it for eating, or baking?

                                1. re: chef chicklet
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                                  soupkitten RE: chef chicklet May 18, 2007 10:08 AM

                                  i use the pastureland butter for eating with good bread, a little at a time, and sometimes for finishing a special sauce or cooking something very special. i use organic valley butter for more "normal" cooking and most baking--i should add that i am more of a cook than a baker/pastry, though i've used the pastureland in making french loaves (OMG!). the butter performs so exceptionally well that at first it was distracting to work with it! it is available at many farmer's markets and some stores around me, i feel very lucky that it's a local product! i think they probably would ship anywhere in u.s.-- everyone from pastureland that i have ever met is really nice, committed to their products, & willing to go out of their way. . .

                                  the butter itself is very dense, with no excess water or weak texture. it is a beautiful color, and to me it tastes grassy, sweet and fresh with absolutely no bitterness that you can sometimes get with grassfed milk products. it is the only butter that i've found myself shaving a tiny sliver off and eating by itself. i'd say that you just gotta try it for yourself, for me it is one of those really fine foods that have really contributed to my long slide-- i am now officially ruined for everyday spreads and supermarket butter, & can never go back!

                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                    chef chicklet RE: soupkitten May 18, 2007 10:51 AM

                                    SK, I emailed Steve! He ships to CA as there aren't any Retail locations noted on the website. I am ordering today. So I will get one of each to try, and I have sliced a few butter sticks myself and popped the slivers into my mouth as well. That is how I can tell the mouth feel. And if it is "greasy" I don't like that,and I know what you mean about the "grassy" taste. I too am more of a cook, and finish my sauces with a butter pat slipped in, nothing like it.
                                    He asked who referred me, I'd rather not divulge so you might want to email him and let him know it was you. He would like to thank you for the referral....
                                    Thanks for the link!

                              2. a
                                aynrandgirl RE: thegreekone May 18, 2007 11:36 AM

                                Ordinarily I'd go for the Danish butter on general principles, but Lurpak's salted butter has too little salt for my tastes. Since I rarely bake, Kerrygold is #1 for me.

                                1. m
                                  mldubose RE: thegreekone Aug 31, 2007 02:02 PM

                                  Cooks Illustrated liked the extra creamy Land O'Lakes butter better than the European butters. The unsalted at least. I don't remember the results for the salted since I never use salted butter. I can't stand it personally.

                                  1. LindaWhit RE: thegreekone Sep 1, 2007 01:37 PM

                                    I just picked up two new butters (to me, that is) at Roche Bros. in the Boston area. First was Delitia (http://www.delitia.com) "Il Burro" from the production of parmigiano reggiano cheese in the Parma region of Italy. The second is Beurre de lait de Chevre, a goatmilk butter produced by Tournevent in the Quebec region of Canada. Looks like Tournevent was acquired by Liberte a few years back. http://www.liberte.qc.ca/en/page.ch2?...

                                    The Parma butter definitely isn't as sweet, and has a grassy, slightly cheesy undertone. 83% butterfat, according to the package. Spread on a piece of sourdough with a bit of fleur de sel on top, it's pretty good, but probably not something I'll buy again. (8 oz. for $3.99) I pay $3.19 for 8 oz. of President butter at TJs.

                                    The goatmilk butter, however, is absolutely wonderful! Sweet and creamy on it's own, even better on the piece of sourdough, and heavenly with a pinch of fleur de sel! No butterfat content listed, but the price was $6.99 for 8.9 oz. (ouch!

                                    )

                                    I'll probably stick with President butter I get at TJs for a more regular basis, but if I think of it, I'll pick up the goatmilk butter on occasion.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      Richard 16 RE: LindaWhit Sep 2, 2007 09:43 AM

                                      I don't know why my previous post was deleted (along with a response), so here I go again:

                                      I love President butter as well, and TJ's price is much better than the other local sources. They also carry the salted version. I'll have to try the goat milk butter -- my wife will love me trying an even more pricy buttter...

                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                        notmartha RE: LindaWhit Nov 5, 2007 02:39 PM

                                        I picked up the Delitia Parma butter at Surfas (also saw it at Whole Foods) here, and it's really good for putting on our homemade no-knead bread. It's more creamy than sweet, like a solid form of heavy cream, in a way.

                                        I liked it. Haven't try to cook or bake with it. I suspect it will be a waste to do so.

                                      2. d
                                        davebough RE: thegreekone Nov 6, 2007 05:55 AM

                                        European style butter is generally cultured, UK & USA style is generally a sweet cream butter. Commercially available butter in the US is mostly made in the creamery and packaged forr any brand that orders it. I have a creamery 2 blocks from me that is owned and operated by Michigan Milk Producers Association and makes all brands of butter, both national brands like Land O Lakes and store brands like Kroger. I like unsalted butter, the fresher the better. Until his retirement early this year, I had coffee in the morning with a guy that had just come off the third shift and would steal me a pound he had just made occasionally.
                                        dave

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: davebough
                                          Zucumber84 RE: davebough Nov 6, 2007 10:20 AM

                                          Your story just made me think of a whole new way to look at being a breadwinner.

                                        2. g
                                          GinaJ RE: thegreekone Nov 6, 2007 10:52 AM

                                          Definitely Plugra (has the highest butter fat content). At Trader Joe's is fairly cheap to buy.Kerrygold is also very good. Forget Challenge European Style butter, For baking it works well, but not on your breads.

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