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Jun 2, 2011 07:45 AM

My butter smells like Parmesan cheese??

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.

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  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          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

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

          1. 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.