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Oct 1, 2012 08:13 AM

The proportion of water in generic butter is getting ridiculous!

I know there have been some price spikes and "shortages" of butter over the last few years, but why do the manufacturers think they're going to get away with adding so much more water just to keep prices stable? Just charge a fair price across the board, I say,and give me real butter (guess there's not real standard? I'm just thinking of that little symbol that used to be on the packaging). Last year, my Christmas cookies were all wrong (after 35 years of making the same recipes) and then last night I made my long time recipe for Cream of Broccoli soup. When I went to make the roux, I could not get the first step, the water-boiling-away process, to end (sorry I can't think of the technical term, the first step of clarifying). I finally gave up and just dumped the flour in. And then it wouldn't seize, in a very noticable way. I swear the bar was half water at least!

I am always well stocked on loss leader priced pounds of butter, keep them in the freezer and never pay more than $2/$2.50; but I'm starting to think I'm throwing my money away on water rather than any kind of dairy product. Sigh. Gonna have to go high end for baking this season I guess, and treat it like gold. I had noticed this trend last year too, but thought it was just temporary till the price fell. I was wrong.

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  1. We buy our butter at Costco in 4 pound packs, and I have not noticed any change in the quality of the butter. Where are you buying "generic" butter?

    6 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      Grocery store, Waldbaums house brand which I think is the problem. I shop by price mostly. Other times Land O'Lakes, but I really need to keep better notes! I want to nail this down before the holidays get here. But the company I worked for was selling something similar last Christmas season and I got lots of complaints from chefs, so I know somethings going on with the more competitive brands. You don't notice the difference on toast or whatever, but in delicate baking you can't miss it. Hope I don't sound paranoid ;-) It always happens when I least expect it.

      1. re: coll

        Cabot never fails me. Same for Stew Leonard's, but not sure you have Stew's in your neck of the woods.

      2. re: roxlet

        I like the Costco butter for all-purpose as well, although if I can find Land o' Lakes on sale for the same price or less, I stock up on that. I don't generally buy any other brands, and especially not store brands (which in my area are quite unreliable). Costco and Land o' Lakes both give me consistent results.

        1. re: roxlet

          So in NY Costco sells butter in four pound packs. Fortunately in Toronto it's still individual pound packages. But we have the 32 tins of Coke that I can barely lift and the box with four 1.89L (64Ounce) containers of orange juice. Butter will probably soon follow.

          1. re: mexivilla

            I count going to BJs as the same as a trip to the gym. Between just the giant jugs of Poland Spring and the kitty litter that I get every time, getting them in the cart, out to pay, back in and then in and out of the car at home, it's quite the workout.

            1. re: coll

              I've seen people biking out of Costco a time or two, with baskets filled/strapped down and backpacks. Impresses the heck out of me. We're talking TX suburbs here!

              Costco butter is functional but bland. Haven't really noticed the water issue but Land O Lakes flavor is certainly better.

        2. I was using giant brand and was less than happy the last few pounds so I am switching to Land O lakes which is what my mother uses to see if there is a difference.

          1. Kate's is good butter, too. I used it to make cat head biscuits a couple of weeks ago.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kattyeyes

              I use Kate's exclusively and I never have a problem.

            2. we use cabot and kerrygold for most things, but i do bake with trader joe's and have never had a problem with any of these. don't know where you live, but $2 pp is shockingly cheap to me. i pay $2.99-$3.50 for the cabot and trader joe's, and the kerrygold is that price for 1/2 pound packages.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                You get what you pay for, for sure.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Gee, where do you find Cabot so cheap? It's my favorite grocery-store-quality butter, but it's near $5.00here in SGA

                  1. re: pmarie1

                    i'm in new england and buy lots when it goes on sale. i'm guessing your distance is upping the price. i didn't even realize it was available so far south.

                2. Thanks everyone, I was just venting. I swore last Christmas I would lay off the cheap stuff, but guess I forgot. Land o Lakes or Hotel Bar will be my new Stews or Costco, but I seem to remember BJs four pack being fine too. Wish I could afford the imported stuff all the time!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    Seriously, I cannot tell any difference between LOL and store brands. I think that LOL is riding on their reputation and is NOT of better quality.....I have even purchased LOL that was spoiled.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      I completely agree. No difference (except in price...the store brand sells regularly for around $2.25/lb...and as low as $1.89 when 'on sale' every 6 weeks or so).