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My butter smells like Parmesan cheese??

lisavf Jun 2, 2011 07:45 AM

I bought some butter made by a raw milk distributor. I assume that the butter was made from the raw milk. When I opened the container, it had a very strong smell like parmesan cheese, but it tastes like just plain butter. I checked the label for ingredients; it just said sweet cream and salt. The butter continues to have this same smell to it. Any thoughts as to why, and if it indicates any sort of problem? I can't go to the producer to ask about it because I bought it at a farm market, and that producer wasn't even there, just his products in the refrigerated case. Btw, I also bought his milk, and that smelled and tasted just like milk, no odor of cheese at all.

  1. rabaja Jun 2, 2011 08:28 AM

    I find this happens to me too occasionally, when I buy Strauss butter.
    It just has a funky odor sometimes, but usually tastes, as you say, just like butter.
    I assume it's the diet of the cows, and also that this dairy doesn't ultra-pasturize everything.
    From time to time the smell translates into the taste and I have to decide what it can be used for (savory dishes more than sweet) or if I want to use it at all.
    I like the nuance though, and I like Stauss' philosophy on dairy farming so it doesn't really bother me.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rabaja
      LindaWhit Jun 2, 2011 12:26 PM

      Yes, it does have to do with the diet of the milking cows, and the fact (I think) that it's made from raw milk. European butters often have a "funkier" smell as well, and a creamier, more buttery taste.


      1. re: LindaWhit
        Caitlin McGrath Jun 2, 2011 02:39 PM

        The Straus butter rabaja mentions isn't made from raw milk, but pasteurized (not ultra-). It is 85% butterfat, however.


        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
          LindaWhit Jun 2, 2011 03:42 PM

          Ahhh...I'm going to have to see if I can find that butter to try it out. I'll start with Whole Foods.

        2. re: LindaWhit
          lisavf Jun 3, 2011 06:01 AM

          Good point about the cows' diet. The milk tasted and smelled normal, but the parmesan cheese smell from the butter is really strong, so I thought it very odd (why parmesan cheese, of all things??). But it tastes fine, so I'll use it as usual, and I'm sure I'll buy more in the future.

      2. melpy Jun 2, 2011 08:30 AM

        I find butter and milk vary greatly by brand... even commericial grocery stores have huge differences. You would likely know from the taste if it was off.

        1. scubadoo97 Jun 2, 2011 12:42 PM

          I think this problem is more prevalent with salted butter which is not usually of the same quality as unsalted.

          1. Delucacheesemonger Jun 3, 2011 07:34 AM

            There is a butter from Reggio, Italy, that is made from the milk of the cows that eventually leads to Parmigiano-Reggiano. The butter indeed smells like the cheese, It is quite expensive and, IMHO, wonderful. Perhaps you are lucky and saved a lot in getting the same thing in an American butter.

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