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I Don't Really Care For Butter On My Bread

I don't mind butter on bread, I have nothing against it... I am the type of guy that chooses 2 1/2 star hotels when I travel on expense just so that I can make myself a 1/4 waffle with 3 pats of real butter....

But if I am eating a quality, hearty, tasty bread I think butter dumbs it down, and detracts from the complex, almost warrior like qualities of a good loaf of bread.

Southern European bread is different... (some ignorant people accuse typical Italian, Spanish or Portugese breads of being tasteless, hard etc., without really understanding)... its made for Olive Oil.... the oil is the big deal in many regions... the bread is just a vehicle... and shouldn't get in the way....

But I feel Northern / Central European style breads... well its all about the bread itself... butter is just historically a peasant addition to get more calories & vital lipids in the diet. But we don't toil the fields all day... so butter is irrelevent to me.

Am I the only one... or do I have some bretheren out there?

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  1. I never put butter on bread, but that's because I don't like the taste of "uncooked" butter, for lack of a better description.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Have you tried adequately salted butter? I can see how unsalted butter may taste "uncooked" but I feel that properly salted butter enhances the bread experience.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        It's been a life long thing - it's the consistency as well as the taste. My mother and sister are the same way, my brother not so because my grandmother caught him early on and taught him to butter toast. And, buttered toast is much, much worse than cold butter on bread!

        1. re: MMRuth

          Oh no! Buttered toast is one of the greatest joys in life -- biting into the crunchy bread with good melted salted butter in the crevices. Oh well, at least you're saving a whole bunch of calories! : )

      2. re: MMRuth

        That's funny, me too - butter must be melted always. Although pretty funny story - when I was in Paris, I ordered an appetizer of (I thought) meats and cheeses and proceeded to eat this wonderful cheese. I was saying things like "oh, this is so smooth and dainty flavor" when my son tried it and said "Mom, that's solid butter". Eeeeek, suddenly I didn't like it. You talk about psychologically generated taste buds. I usually will eat most everything but for some reason, knowing it's solid butter makes me cringe.

        1. re: lexpatti

          My two year-old will eat solid butter and it's hard to watch, even though I know it's only a step removed from a nice fatty cheese, as you found out.

          1. re: julesrules

            My 20 month old uses a small piece of bread to lick off a big chunk of butter... then proceeds to ask for more buhlluh ... I celebrate her eating because her body realizes that she needs more fat now that she has weaned to cow milk (which is naturally higher in protein & lower in fat than human milk).

            Kids are absolutely amazing when it comes to food if we don't ruin it with our dysfunctional food rules.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              I agree my kid can eat as much fat as she wants (for now anyway). That's why I don't stop her from eating the butter off the bread, although we do limit how much we give her. But I do find it amazing to observe the differences between kids. Mine loves pizza... but only the toppings! She leaves the crust. A friend's two year-old picks off the toppings and only eats the crust. And they consistently follow this protein/fat vs. carbs pattern. I don't think it can all be explained by differences in parents' attittude, food choices etc. I remember LOVING all kids of fat (and sugar, but that's pretty universal) from a young age and so does my daughter. I do believe there's a genetic component.
              Last night she had a little tummy pain after eating all that meat and cheese off a pizza crust... I was gently explaining that one eats vegetables and fruits to help with that particular problem (she's not going to understand fibre or whole grain). She immediately looked at me and said, "The pizza hurt my tummy!".

              1. re: julesrules

                Mine seems to get a balanced diet over time. Some days she exists on pasta and rice, the next day it will be all salami, hot dog or prosciutto... other days its scrambled eggs... some days she mostly eats a ton of fruits or vegetables. So far she has a wide palette and likes most things... I like to brag about her consumption of lamb shanks, chicken pate, deep fried shrimp, celery, carrots etc., etc.,

                The only rule we follow is that we set the example... she can ask for anything we have in the house... if we bring in cookies, chocolate bars & candies... well that is our fault but we aren't going to restrict anything she sees us consuming... well we don't let her have wine, beer or spirits... particularly after I let her taste my Belgian Ale so that she would stop asking for that "agua"... I thought she would be turned off it.. but she immediately asked for more... so no more of that!

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  For beer/wine, you could always do a variation on the normal Italian thing: at Sunday dinner the little ones get a bit of wine in their water (maybe a teaspoon). Older children get a bit more, and my the time they're 14 or so they get a small glass. The idea is that it's not enough that they could get intoxicated.

      3. I love bread and butter. Not warm bread, but fresh -- with very good, slightly soft butter. I could eat it every day. I certainly don't, but I could! And to be honest, I'm not crazy about the olive oil on bread thing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Glencora

          I love both good butter and good olive oil on good bread—don't think they detract at all but enhance.

          Ditto pork fat like they used (or still do) serve at Cafe Polonia in South Boston.

        2. Maybe not brethren, but sistren. My wife, a connoisseur of heavy, hearty loaves, rarely butters her bread unless it's toasted. I, on the other hand, am a Kerrygold devotee, spread thick on fresh artisanal rye - mmmmm...

          But it's your line about the "warrior like" quality of bread that caught my eye. It's a striking image, yet somehow disturbing - I want my bread to stay passive when I bite it, not start waving a double-headed war axe at my tongue!

          1. Growing up in a throughly Italian family, I had never heard of olive oil on bread. In Bagna Cauda for veggie or bread dipping, but not as a condiment of itself for bread. In our house, my mother would serve what she called "sweet butter," meaning unsalted and it was delicious on just baked crusty Scali sliced or broken at the table. I still love that simple serving. But to be fair, bread "is just the vehicle" for many sauces not just EVOO.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              >>I had never heard of olive oil on bread.

              Nope, and I have no use for it still. Grilled back in the kitchen and served hot, yes. But dipped at the table? Blech.

              But butter. Ah butter. Sweet, salted, doesn't matter. Butter on bread, bagels, toast, big globs of it. Butter smooshed together with cinammon and brown sugar on toast, yum. Grilled cheese awash in butter, yum.

              Never mind the butter on potatoes, pancakes, waffles, and the like, also yum.

              But bread without butter? A nice crusty Italian bread with a soft 'mudiga' perhaps, but that's only because the butter wouldn't spread.

              Ah, the joys of butter.

              1. re: dolores

                Crusty Italian breadsticks dipped into EVOO w/a swirl of balsamic is wonderful

              2. re: Gio

                Hi Gio... I am curious about your regional Italian ancestry because Italians that I know from Palermo & Lecce... eat Olive Oil like its a staple... a little bit of bread is used to sop up a generous pour of distinctive oils.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Hey EN... Oh well - The South!! Now we know. JK

                  Mother's family from Puglio....Bari, but moved to Trieste when she was just a babe in arms. Father's family from Campania...Torre Le Nocelle in the mountains.

                  1. re: Gio

                    So does your family consider themselves to be northern Italian, Gio, where butter is used more than olive oil?

                    (I love Puglia, btw.)

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Yes, GG, VeryVery northern. :-)

                      (and... yes, it's Puglia. I think I misspelled everything I typed yesterday...)

                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Interesting. My Grandfather is off the boat Sicillian and we never had olive oil on bread. I had never heard of it until it became big in the early 90's among chain restaurants. I suppose that's why I don't care for it.

                    Butter, for me, is a glorious thing. Smooth, creamy goodness. Nothing tastes better than a thick slather of creamy butter on a baguette stuffed with prosciutto. Mmmmm.

                  3. re: Gio


                    There is an old time family Italian resto in Jfood home town that serves neither butter nor oil at the table for bread. Just an extra large shaker of Parm cheese. Do you know the history of this custom?


                    1. re: jfood

                      I honestly don't know, Jfood. There are so many Italo-American customs here that never saw light of day in The Old Country. It was a matter of not finding the same ingredients here and making do with what one did find. Then there is the issue of regional differences which we've discussed here in the past.

                      Is the cheese there on the table specifically for the bread or is the shaker there for diners to add extra cheese to the pasta? I've seen that here as well.

                      1. re: Gio

                        it is there for the bread, the pizza, the pasta, and the best ravioli in the country, no hyperbole on the ravioli. It is in the back of a neighborhood bar, has the lasagne made every morning my the grandma and after little league on sundays the sounds are the metal cleats on the wood floor and kids laughing.

                        Boy jfood misses this place.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Oh that sounds like neighborhood trattorias I remember as a child!
                          The Fernwood....Owned by the father and the whole family worked there. His wife Maria sat on a stool between the kitchen and the dining room and nothing was served till she had inspected everything on the tray going out. Do these places still exist?

                          Nothing was on the table, though, except the usual utensils and a jar of red pepper flakes.

                        2. re: Gio

                          I grew up around a lot of old school Neopolitans. No butter or oil (never saw that until about 20 years ago but I have to admit I like it) but were known to sprinkle a little red wine vinegar and dried oregano on crusty Italian bread. Other than that it's used to sop up "gravy". I loved salted Breakstone's in the waxy tub as a kid in NYC. Do they still sell that?

                          1. re: southernitalian

                            My father used to stand over the simmering tomato sauce with a hunk of Italian bread happily dunking till mother would run him out of the kitchen. We had Breakstones too. I haven't looked for it in ages..
                            We're going shopping today, I'll have to see if it's still being sold.

                            I must say I hardly ever see the dipping oil on tables ar restaurants we go to. Todd English's Figs restaurant was the first place I saw it a few years ago, but it was more like a Bagna Cauda. Personally, I hardly ever eat bread before or during a meal....bread salad being a recent exception.

                        3. re: jfood

                          Interesting. I am from a town in NE PA and all the family-owned Italian restos (there are lots) serve the individually-wrapped pats of butter, but more importantly, they also serve the bread w/ a small bowl of canned banana peppers in olive oil. Every family back home claims to have the best canned peppers. Some add garlic and oregano, sliced olives, etc. They are highly-coveted by those of us that don't live there anymore and refuse to try our hand at canning!

                      2. I've always preferred the flavor of margarine to butter (only if uncooked), but was never really one for buttering bread. I've actually been meaning to try the "Smart Balance" spreads (mostly for the wife and kids) but am trying to get away from foods which are engineered. I'm more apt to make an oilve oil dip if I feel like something extra, but am very satisfied with a good crusty loaf of Tuscan or French bread by itself.

                        1. I don't like butter on my bread either -- in any form.

                          I don't even like butter on my grilled cheese sandwiches.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Gah!!! No butter on grilled cheese sandwiches? How do you make them then?

                            And I love a good sweet butter spread on good bread - even better when a few sprinkles of Maldon sea salt is crushed on top.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Bread, cheese, bread ... then toast in toaster oven. Comes out great.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I use olive oil brushed onto the bread, then into the hot pan and weighed down by another skillet. Delicious.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I butter the bread and then fry the cheese sandwich in olive oil. Using both butter and oil lets u get it hotter and thus it comes out crunchier - yum.

                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    Now that sounds interesting, lynnlato. I'll have to try it.

                                    I agree with you, there is nothing like biting into butter.

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  Glad to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't like butter on grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, I really don't like putting butter on bread, toast, pancakes, etc. My family thinks I'm weird, and I have the hardest time in restaurants during breakfast.

                                  1. re: wanderinglady

                                    Me too - I usually get poached eggs to be on the safe side, and always ask for unbuttered toast, pancakes, waffles, inquire about sandwiches, etc.,

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    Ahh - a toasted cheese sandwich - not a grilled cheese.

                                    I dunno - there's something about the greasy goodness of a grilled cheese from a fry pan that just does it for me. But I'm most definitely not a grilled cheese and tomato soup girl. I take my grilled cheese straight, thankyouverymuch. Except with a glass of milk alongside. :-)

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      jfood grew up with an open faced grilled cheese in the toaster oven. A slice of bread then a slice of cheese and onto top brown only. The cheese would rise when it was coking and a slight char on the edges while the bread almost steamed under the cheese and was soft and warm. Because the cheese rose from the bread these were called "baloons" in casa jfood.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      I don't like butter on a grilled cheese either... it seems so extraneous... I prepare mine on a comal that is regularly seasoned with the tiniest layer of quality pork fat.... I like a strong tasting sourdough and either a Chihuhua, Muenster or Poblano cheese... sometimes a spread of Chevre etc., but butter is just irrelevent... I prefer a greater proportion of cheese rather than buttering.

                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                        No butter on my grilled cheese either... but Gulden's Spicy Brown on the inside pieces of bread... now That's what I'm talking about!!

                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                          Yes, but you still have a fat of some kind by using the pork fat (not sure what a comal is tho). Ipsedixit just does a toast of her cheese sandwich vs. a pan-fry in fat - butter, olive oil, pork fat.

                                    3. I love lard on bread at Polish places. A simple "white" bread or even a denser rye.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: limster

                                        I assume you mean pork dripping rather than the commercially produced lard I use mainly for pastry. That would be revolting...

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          It's rendered lard, sometimes with little bits of crackling.

                                          1. re: limster

                                            Similar to dripping then. I grew up eating that on bread sprinkled with a little salt. Poor people's food, basically.

                                      2. Butter is fat and hence carries flavor. The quality of the butter though really does matter - if you have any Trader Joe's in your area, you should try their European-style butter, it's superior.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: circe0723

                                          That is our everyday butter.... when I am having a good, flavorful bread... I don't like the butter messing with the breads character.

                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            "I don't like the butter messing with the breads character."


                                            This is so true. I just don't understand it when I see someone slather on the butter when eating a nice crusty sourdough.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              I don't really like crusty bread, either. It hurts the roof of my mouth. Maybe bread isn't a comfort food for you. (It's more, um, warrior-like?) As for me, I have no use for mac and cheese, or a toasted cheese sandwich, or all sorts of other starchy things, but a firm, slightly squishy, NOT crusty piece of bread with very good butter and a bit of salt is bliss -- a guilty pleasure.

                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                I see people are having fun with my warrior comment... whenever I have a very hearty, complex bread... I just can't take my mind off a traditional Roman warrior breakfast of bread dipped in wine.

                                        2. to each his own i say,but seriously,i probably would never be able to vote for you

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. I agree with you. I do not like butter on my bread. Actually, I went to a French restaurant this weekend, and they served bread w/ butter, so I had a tiny bit, but that was the first time in years that I've buttered bread.

                                            But I also don't do butter on my corn, either, and generally don't like most condiments that one might spread on bread: mustard, ketchup, mayo (especially mayo, unless it's kewpie mayo on takoyaki), and cream cheese.

                                            I generally like my bread toasted and plain, or with olive oil. At a restaurant, I usually ask for olive oil.

                                            Now you're going to think I'm a total weirdo, but the only exception to this is English muffins. I don't know why, but if I eat one (toasted), it must. have. butter. on. it. I don't put a whole lot on it, but enough that the surface looks glistened from the butter and some of it melts into the crevices. If I start seeing butter pieces in the crevices, then a)either the English muffin isn't hot enough, or b) there's too much butter. (I wonder if that last one should've been posted under "Weird eating habits". . ..)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: anzu

                                              Not weird... English muffins & crumpets were made for quality butter & preserves.

                                            2. Hot, crusty bread sops things up nicely. Things that stick to the dish- like the dressing from the salad, the stuff that the roasted red peppers were floating in, the reddish oil from the eggplant caponata, etc.... At times it's tasty butter, but it must not be lard-ish hunks cold from the fridge. I can't get good bread here locally (and I'm no baker) so when I do find a good one- I tear it up and soak at random... marinara, olive tappanade, hummus, spinach dip, hunks of good cheese...nothing is safe.
                                              I can't tolerate waffles. Unless they are used to make an ice cream sandwich.

                                              1. when i used to be able to eat bread... i only liked salted butter on hot bread. for cold bread, some salt please and nothing else.

                                                1. Having grown up in a country that makes the world's best breads (oh yeah, try and argue that :-D), I couldn't care less about butter as a spread.

                                                  I cook with butter a lot, but a fresh, crusty slice of some seedy dark bread don't need no 1" shmear of butter on it.

                                                  I also mistook a slab of butter for cheese at a buffet once -- imagine my dismay when I bit into pure butter. Ugh. Gross.

                                                  Interestingly enough, it's almost impossible to get prepared sandwiches/rolls in Germany without butter, which drives my mother, who will NEVER eat raw butter, nuts.

                                                  Imo, all you need is cheese.

                                                  1. such a difference of opinion and all with great courtesy.

                                                    Jfood is a butter on bread person, but it has to be salted butter. The non-salty butter is just blah. Likewise he loves olive oils at the table to dip the bread in as well. Like others believe that wines complement the foods, a good dipping olive oil on a good piece of crusty bread really sets the mood for the meal. But it has to have great flavor to work with the bread.

                                                    Wrt grilled cheese, gotta have butter in the pan, then the bread gets that crsipy greasyness to it so your finger get a little messy. ANd again it has to be salted, not unsalted butter for jfood. Then when he cooks side 2 he places another pat in the skillet so both sides are crispy salty and greasy.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      The same is true of oil. I used to be annoyed at the restaurants that didn't provide butter but put a saucer of olive oil on the table. Then one day I salted the oil and it then tasted great.

                                                    2. I'm with you, Brother...Never butter my bread. Though I'm not a big dairy fan in general, I can understand the satisfying richness butter can provide. Love it on real popcorn, or corn on the cob, however, nothing beats a fresh piece of unsullied crusty bread. Also being from Italian descent (north and south) we never had a the saucer of OO on the table either.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                        My Dad makes a scene in Italian restaurants that don't give him Butter but instead OO for his bread. He claims that "isn't Italian, go to Italy for yourself". He also makes a major scene if they don't serve spamoni, says "you call yourself Italian and you don't serve Spamoni". We're not even Italian.

                                                        1. re: lexpatti

                                                          What the heck is spamoni? I have been rackin' my brain trying to figure it out.

                                                          Ooooh, do you mean spumoni - the ice cream dessert?

                                                          That's funny about your Dad. Ha!

                                                        2. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                          For me it all depends. If I'm interested in the bread, I prefer it plain. But if you just bought some especially good butter, bread can serve nicely as an excuse to eat it.

                                                          As for olive oil, I laughed out loud when I first saw individual packets of oil for your bread in Spain. Yum that was good. And boy do Spaniards love them some olive oil.

                                                        3. At some NYC coffee shops they fry the eggs in oil instead of butter. Loses all character. Butter and eggs, a true magical marriage of simple ingredients.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: phantomdoc

                                                            It took me a while to figure out why french toast is rarely good in restaurants, but it's because I fry mine in butter (and in fact the butter browns a bit).

                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                              Ewwwwww. French toast in OIL?

                                                              What kind of oil?


                                                              1. re: dolores

                                                                I dunno, maybe they do it on the grill? But it has no butter flavour (also no vanilla or spices). I still have to remind myself NOT to order the french toast unless I really trust the restaurant! Have you found otherwise?

                                                                1. re: dolores

                                                                  My mom's always done it in olive oil. Not rich and buttery, but good in its own right.

                                                                  1. re: Lucia

                                                                    Yeah Mexican / Iberian style French Toast (Torrejas de Pan) are commonly cooked with rendered lard... my god the richness & depth of flavor... there is no way butter can compete for that style of French Toast (which is often served with spiced syrups, chopped nuts & shaved dry cheeses like Cotija or Manchego).

                                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                      Lard. Well, I know the difference it makes in my pie crusts, so I'd have to try it (and I'd probably like it) -- shaved dry cheeses and syrup? Sounds very interesting.

                                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                                        Torrejas & Capirotada (another similar dish)... I think are amongst the most compelling Mexican desserts but they are definitely an acquired taste (specially when you consider that the lauded artisinal Cotija has a distinctive "feet stink" to it that Americans tend to not associate with dessert)... my wife for example, does NOT like them.

                                                                        Along similar lines... I just had some Camote with Doble Crema (Yam that is treated with lime stone then boiled with syrup served with Michoacan style, very thick, flavorful, orange-ish cultured cream)... simple, rustic but very, very tasty.

                                                                        BTW, What is your ethnic background?

                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                          Camote with Doble Crema sounds delicious.

                                                                          Grandparents on both sides were born in Italy. I'm diluted Italian, I guess.

                                                                          No real allegiance to any one food, with the exception of my 'all I can have bucket list' (PB, donuts and ice cream).

                                                                          1. re: dolores

                                                                            That was my guess... so is Lola also used as a pet name for Dolores in Italian?

                                                                        2. re: dolores

                                                                          BTW... I was most definitely not impressed with Dos Caminos on my visit there... but they do seem to do a version of Michoacan Style Torrejas (blackberry sauce is the regional variation there) if you are curious enough:


                                                              2. Had my first introduction to unsalted butter at a hotel in Rome. It was almost as amazing a discovery to me as pizza or sushi had been. All of a sudden that "Continental breakfast" was much less sparse and skimpy than I'd feared it would be; good bread, good butter, and lots of good coffee is, after all, not a bad way to start a day!

                                                                I'm amused by ipsedixit's referring to his toaster-oven sandwiches as "grilled cheese." The ones I grew up with were buttered and either fried or cooked in a waffle iron with reversible plates...but we called them TOASTED cheese!

                                                                1. I'm firmly in the salted butter on bread camp and since we rarely have it in the house these days, I sprinkle a little fleur de sel or kosher salt on the buttered bread. I am Italian and never heard of olive oil to dip bread into until it started showing up in restaurants. I grew up in Brooklyn and we had all manners of ethnic bakeries. To this day, I dream about the Jewish corn bread slathered with salted butter that I ate as a child. To die for -- maybe for real! And salted butter on mazohs! Yum! I started baking my own kaiser rolls as a homage to the kaisers of my childhood, and there is nothing like a warm roll with a little bit of (salted) butter on it.

                                                                  1. I never put butter on fresh baked bread, no matter who made it. The kids and husband think I'm an alien. Good to know there are others from my planet :)

                                                                    1. bread n. A delivery system for butter.