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In search of better butter.

EV_Eats Mar 13, 2010 06:05 PM

I use (& have been using for a long time) Hotel Bar salted butter for cooking, bread etc. I get the feeling that I'm missing out on some good butter out there though. What butter do you guys use & what's so good about it? I'm looking for suggestions.

Thanks!
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  1. Ruth Lafler Mar 13, 2010 07:04 PM

    Here's a recent thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/474789

    To answer your question, though, I'd have to know what your definition of "better" is, since what people like about different butters depends on their personal preferences.

    I'm not familiar with Hotel Bar, but it's made by Keller's Creamery, which also makes a premium butter called Plugra.

    1. j
      JeremyEG Mar 13, 2010 08:56 PM

      I love the pastured butter I get from the farmer's markets. It's got a slight tang to it that really makes sauces complex and delicious. Ronnybrook has good butter and they always have it at their store but some of the smaller dairies make even better stuff I think. Look around the markets in the coming weeks and you should see it. If I can't get to the market, I like Plugra as well.
      JeremyEG
      homecooklocavore.wordpress.com

      5 Replies
      1. re: JeremyEG
        MGZ Mar 14, 2010 08:23 AM

        Organic Valley makes a Pasture Butter that is the best tasting butter I've ever had. I like keep some around and treat it like the Arbequina olive oil - special lipids for special finishes!

        1. re: MGZ
          MandalayVA Mar 19, 2010 09:14 AM

          THIS. I currently have about eight bars in my freezer and dole them out slowly. Love the stuff.

          1. re: MandalayVA
            b
            Beckyleach Mar 23, 2010 06:53 PM

            I love it, too. I have a stockpile in the freezer because it was on sale at Whole Foods recently. Because it's pastured butter it's also loaded with good stuff (omega 3s and conjugated linoleic acid, etc. ) for your health. AND it tastes like butter used to taste: BUTTER! ( when I first tasted it, I was surprised to realize that I had been MISSING this for most of my life ;-)

            1. re: Beckyleach
              b
              Beckyleach Mar 23, 2010 06:55 PM

              http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-F...

          2. re: MGZ
            j
            jeanmarieok Mar 22, 2010 10:06 AM

            I love that Organic Valley butter - I eat a lot more butter than i used to....

        2. p
          Pookipichu Mar 13, 2010 09:34 PM

          Butter can vary quite a bit in flavor and texture so "best" is subjective. If we are talking about supermarket butters, I personally like unsalted Plugra or Lurpak.

          But, if you are near a farm or farmer's market, fresh cream from the farm is the best way to go. Just churn it and make your own butter for the best sweet cream butter.

          1. h
            Harters Mar 14, 2010 08:13 AM

            I'm currently using Yeo Valley Organic. Main thing that was good was that it was on BOGOF.

            1. Vetter Mar 14, 2010 09:46 AM

              The butter I get from the farmer's market just absolutely sings. They must love on those cows, because the stuff is just magic. I'd try and see if you have anything comparable.

              1. mcf Mar 14, 2010 04:13 PM

                The best thing you can do for yourself for starters is to buy it unsalted. Nothing like sweet cream butter. I agree that the pastured and extra high fat premium butters are wonderful, but Hotel Bar without salt isn't awful.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mcf
                  greygarious Mar 22, 2010 03:34 PM

                  Amen. Switching from salted to unsalted butter for your spread and baking is a difference comparable to the magnitude of switching from Crisco to extra-virgin olive oil for your salad dressing.

                2. c
                  CDouglas Mar 14, 2010 05:06 PM

                  Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is great. They make a garlic and herb butter as well that makes for easy garlic bread, scampi and it wonderful with escargot.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: CDouglas
                    dduane Mar 19, 2010 12:36 AM

                    Interesting that you should mention Kerrygold. In Ireland it's just one more supermarket butter: the one that's really in demand is called Cuinneog -- it's unusual over here in that it's a cultured / cured cream butter (all the other native Irish butters are sweet). Really good stuff! (rummaging for their web address) http://www.cuinneog.com/products/cuin... ...They also make a dynamite natural buttermilk: not cultured -- the real thing.

                    1. re: dduane
                      Servorg Mar 22, 2010 07:56 AM

                      Just bought some Kerrygold butter for the first time last week at my local Raphs and it was nothing special. Tasted the same as my normal purchase, Land-O-Lakes butter. If I see the Cuinneog brand (thanks for the tip) I'll definitely give it a try.

                    2. re: CDouglas
                      b
                      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 20, 2010 09:39 PM

                      My wife and I love Kerrygold Irish butter as well. It's a lot more expensive than the Publix or Costco brands, but if we have really top-notch bread on hand or we're undertaking a serious baking project, it has always been worth the splurge.

                    3. m
                      moh Mar 20, 2010 05:57 PM

                      Not always easy to find everywhere, but I am a huge fan of the French imported AOC butters, like beurre d'Echire, and Beurre D'isigny. I only use these butters for eating fresh on a really nice piece of bread, so I can really enjoy the quality and unique taste of the butter. They are incredibly smooth, creamy and rich, and they are almost cheese-like. I find I have to control myself when I eat this butter, and try to limit the size of the hunk of butter I put on the bread. But so yummy...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: moh
                        t
                        tarteaucitron Mar 21, 2010 06:29 PM

                        Same here, moh, you pretty much described what I have in mind about butter. In fact, I take extra precaution to make sure that the bread is never too hot when the butter goes on, so that the creamy goodness does not disappear into the bread!

                        I am a bit embarrassed to say that I currently have two kinds of French butter sitting in my fridge (beurre d'Isgny and a raw, organic one from the farm), in addition to the regular cooking butter. I had to go out of my way to obtain them but it is absolutely worth it, because it turns every bite of bread into a real treat.

                        1. re: tarteaucitron
                          m
                          moh Mar 23, 2010 11:47 AM

                          Absolutely, tarteaucitron, the bread has to be at room temp, too hot would melt the butter, too cold would just be unpleasant....

                          Now I would say, I have had a remarkable caramel au beurre D'isigny made by the now unavailable patrons of the now-closed Bouchees Gourmandes, and I have to say, that was totally worth transformation of the otherwise sacrosanct beurre D'isigny... So there are exceptions to the rule. And if I was stinking rich, I'd probably use these butters in everything! Sadly, money is an object. That's ok, keeps it special!

                        2. re: moh
                          w
                          westaust Mar 23, 2010 06:56 PM

                          I will second what Moh said, those french AOC butter are simply amazing, expensive, but well worth it on a nice fresh baguette!

                        3. m
                          mattyboy Mar 21, 2010 11:51 AM

                          I second Mohs posting. I am currentlly enjoying a " churnned" butter which has sea salt crystals throughout. MMMM!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mattyboy
                            m
                            moh Mar 23, 2010 11:48 AM

                            Yummm! What butter is that, mattyboy? I love those crunchy salty bites in butter!

                            1. re: moh
                              m
                              mattyboy Mar 23, 2010 06:16 PM

                              Something "provence'. Unfortunately I have only half a label left! These people make a line of products in blue packaging. It might have been Summer in Provence?

                          2. g
                            gfr1111 Mar 22, 2010 02:33 PM

                            If there is an Amish community near where you live, you can get very good butter from their stores. Here in Florida, I work in Sarasota, where there is a big Amish community. Anything like ham, butter, homemade pickled vegetables, bread, ice cream, pies, etc. seems to taste better if the Amish made it. The only exception I can think of is that their cheese seems about like any supermarket cheese, but that may be because I like sharp cheeses and most of the Amish cheeses are pretty mild. Anyway, definitely try Amish butter.

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