Butter-the essence of cooking

Post
dogmeat
Cheeseburger
2004/12/27 07:06:58
With all the emphasis these days with fresh,regional products it seems like we sometimes get further away from the basics and foundations of our heritages based on products that are made available to us via expiration dates,dollar consideration,brand consideration and transportation rather than taste or quality. Remember when you could walk into a old theater and smell real butter? Can you smell your current butter through the wrapping that protects it? Butter is a signature like great olive oil and it seems to be getting tougher to come by quality wise. Are there any great regional butters out there??? Thanks, Byron
tiki
Filet Mignon
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 07:54:25
i cant remember the names of them because i moved to oklahoma soon after discovering them,but there are a couple of dairy farms in Calif that are marketing very high quality butters. One i believe was a small cheese maker and the other a large organic dairy in Northern Calif.that still uses glass milk bootles. I remember thet they were not cheap and the market told me that they sold all they could get the day it got in---i special ordered it to make my last batch of lemon bars at my last christmas in Calif--save the last of that for Christmas morning for toast! I just saw in Cooks magazine,a rating of what is thouyght of as gourmet butters and am glad to say that Land of Lakes was very highly rated-both salted and unsalted
carlton pierre
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 09:47:55
Tiki, you just brought up an interesting question. Why it is in the "Prime Cuts" area is weird, but anyway, here goes. Is there much difference in salted or unsalted butter? Obviously one has no salt, but why would I choose one over the other when making something with butter?
Maynerd
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 10:06:46
I like Plugra butter. It's not regional ( I think it's french) but it has a higher butterfat content than most. I think that may be the crux of your problem quality wise. In an effort to cut costs, I think some butters are reducing their butterfat content.
Palugra is expensive, but I don't use that much butter so it's not an issue with me.
stanpnepa
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 10:12:38
My wife and I resolve (in 2005!) to eat fresher food at home. This comes after a trip to Italy, where they do use butter up North...and LOTS of olive oil down South. There are very few processed foods. All of that day's freshly made items can be found in the front windows of restaurants and storefronts...and NO ONE IS OVERWEIGHT!!! I'll take a 1000 calorie gelato over a Ding Dong any day! As Americans, we're eating too many chemicals---sacrificing quickness for quality---and paying for it.
Willly
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 10:36:57
Plugra is actually American made, but European style. I buy the 1 lb. unsalted blocks at trader joes for all my baking and sauce making. For the most part I pay under $4.00 a lb for it, so the price is not too bad. If we were discussing butter balls, the "Prime Cuts" topic would make more sense. Butter balls are cut from the tenderest part of the butter...
Maynerd
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 11:36:25
quote:
Originally posted by carlton pierre

Tiki, you just brought up an interesting question. Why it is in the "Prime Cuts" area is weird, but anyway, here goes. Is there much difference in salted or unsalted butter? Obviously one has no salt, but why would I choose one over the other when making something with butter?


Should I use salted or unsalted butter?
For most recipes, salted and unsalted butter can be used interchangeably. However, many chefs recommend using unsalted butter for baking and seafood. Salted butter is a good choice for general cooking.

found that here: http://www.kellerscreamery.com/chef_talk/butter_basics.php

The Tips & Techniques section is quite informative I think.
Ralph Isbill
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 11:58:14
My wife and I have used only butter and good olive oil for cooking and on the table the last four years. You will never again find olio in our home.
dogmeat
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 12:00:29
I've always thought that the salted butter had a longer shelf life and in most cases cheaper, but I go through it so fast I like the unsalted, for the flavor. Plugra makes a "clarified" version of their butter (sans butterfat)for higher heat cooking but I don't think that the flavor is as good as the regular unsalted. A recent addition to the butter market is Cremdore', another European style butter that is very,very good, the best flavor tasted recently, produced in Buffalo,New York. I've noticed that quite a bit of the "gourmet" butters are breing marketed in meat areas of grocery and speciality stores. Byron
lleechef
Sirloin
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 12:23:21
quote:
Originally posted by dogmeat

Plugra makes a "clarified" version of their butter (sans butterfat)for higher heat cooking but I don't think that the flavor is as good as the regular unsalted. Byron

Actually the Plugra clarified is NOT sans butterfat, as 1T (14 g) contains 130 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14g of total fat and 9g of saturated fat.
At the restaurant I use Plugra for all pastries and baking. It is truly European style butter and has about 10% more butterfat than most butters on the market.
RubyRose
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 12:34:15
Our local brand here in my part of PA is Keller's. It comes salted and unsalted. I don't pay that much attention to the flavor because I use butter for cooking or baking, not for eating outright. When I use it on vegetables, it's mostly always browned in a special little pitcher first.
lleechef
Sirloin
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 12:54:56
Plugra is a product of Keller's. Their Corporate office, warehouse and distribution center are located in Harleysville, PA. Their production plant is in Winnsboro, TX.
zussers
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 13:06:15
I agree with Stanpnepa, There way too many chemicals in our food. I don't substitute sweeteners for sugar or margarine for butter. I have not seen Plugra butter here in Knoxville, but will look for it at our better markets! I am always on the look-out for great food items! Thanks!
aleswench
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 13:34:55
In the gourmet cheese section of one of our local markets, there is Irish Butter - actually made in Ireland. It's expensive, but very delish - denser, creamier and lighter in color than "regular" butter. I can't recall the name of it though. Will have to look next time I go.
Maynerd
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 13:42:45
quote:
Originally posted by aleswench

In the gourmet cheese section of one of our local markets, there is Irish Butter - actually made in Ireland. It's expensive, but very delish - denser, creamier and lighter in color than "regular" butter. I can't recall the name of it though. Will have to look next time I go.


Did a google search, is this the brand?

http://www.kerrygold.com/usa/irishbut.html
Maynerd
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 13:44:33
quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

Plugra is a product of Keller's. Their Corporate office, warehouse and distribution center are located in Harleysville, PA. Their production plant is in Winnsboro, TX.


Well then I guess it is a regional butter for me.
aleswench
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/27 13:56:21
quote:
Originally posted by Maynerd

quote:
Originally posted by aleswench

In the gourmet cheese section of one of our local markets, there is Irish Butter - actually made in Ireland. It's expensive, but very delish - denser, creamier and lighter in color than "regular" butter. I can't recall the name of it though. Will have to look next time I go.


Did a google search, is this the brand?

http://www.kerrygold.com/usa/irishbut.html


That's it!! Ding Ding Ding!! Thank you!
dug
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/29 12:23:01
"in butter we trust"!
Phishmonger
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/29 12:52:51
A meal without butter is like a day without sunshine. So sayeth the Phishmonger.
renfrew
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/29 13:47:23
I like the canadian Lactania brand. Especially the "Antique" variety.
Theedge
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2004/12/29 14:25:48
I've converted several of my friends to a better brand of butter. They thought butter was butter before trying Hope Creamery butter. We are fortunate to have this made locally. See the link below.

http://www.citypages.com/databank/23/1119/article10396.asp
danimal15
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 09:42:23
I've heard that in Wisconsin, the dairy state, it used to be against the law for a restaurant to serve margarine. Now that was a fine law. I wish every state would adopt it. No more fake butter!
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 10:43:56
quote:
Originally posted by danimal15

I've heard that in Wisconsin, the dairy state, it used to be against the law for a restaurant to serve margarine. Now that was a fine law. I wish every state would adopt it. No more fake butter!

Hmmm...I can't remember that one per se (but wouldn't be surprised if it was true) but it did used to be illegal to color margarine yellow. If I remember the story correctly that law disappeared in the mid '60s when the state Ag or Dairy commissioner couldn't tell the difference taste-wise between the two.

Growing up it was 2% milk and Fleischmann's margarine at home in IL and whole milk and real butter at Grandma's in WI. Nowadays in my house in WI it's 2% milk and real butter (both from WI producers), and the only Fleischmann's is a clear liquid in a 1.75L bottle.

Brad O.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 10:48:12
Growing up in Connecticut margerine used to come in bags and had to be mixed with some sort of coloring agent after purchase. The coloring agent was in the form of a red capsule in the bag.
KBminihorse
Junior Burger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 11:56:17
Whole Foods & Trader Joes both carry brands of butter that do not contain the added hormone rBST. I never buy butter from regular stores, including Land O Lakes. If it doesn't specifically say "Does not contain rBST' chances are that it does. Always try to buy as natural of a product as possible.
Art Deco
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 14:14:44
I generally use Plugra, Lurpak (Danish) or Cabot...
michaelgemmell
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/11 20:32:38
Trader Joe's in the SF Bay Area carries the Plugra, as well as Kerrygold. The K comes in salted in most stores and both salted and unsalted in a few. You're right when you say salting butter keeps it wholesome longer. That Kerrygold is $2.39 for 1/2 # every day. Another market here puts Président French butter on sale, and I love it too.

By law US butter contains 80% butterfat, while the European and european-style butters have a higher fat content, making them richer and "creamier," indeed. Clarified butter has no milk solids, meaning it's virtually 100% fat. It's the milk solids that cause butter to burn at high heat, so clarified is great for sautéeing. Check a cookbook to see how you can easily clarify butter at home. You're so right to point out those products that are rBST-free. Who needs that chemical?
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/12 15:49:50
If you are eating dairy products, you are eating rBST. No test yet exists that can tell you if the rBST in your milk is "natural" or comes from a treated cow. Your USDA makes it very difficult for a producer to say "no rBST" because it can not be true in any case. The system that we have is based on the honor system, and the pledge by various coop members not to inject cows with the Monsato product. Everything that you read on the package is written with great care to avoid the attention of the USDA and Monsanto lawyers. The product was not in use when I was milking cows, and I can not honestly say that I would not be using it if I were in the cow biz today. I generally buy the Cabot product or Land O Lakes, both of which are farmer owned.
michaelgemmell
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/12 19:00:10
tmiles, I'm confused. I understood that rBST is an artificial growth hormone. By saying "if the rBST in your milk is 'natural' or comes from a treated cow" suggests to me you're saying rBST is something natural found in cow's milk. If that's the case, why would Monsanto manufacture it? Have I misunderstood you?

In the SF Bay area, there are 3 dairy sources that say they do not include rBST. The Clover-Stornetta products say simply "This milk is from cows not treated with rBST" while the Trader Joe's cottage cheese says pretty much the same thing with the disclaimer saying there's "no significant difference" between products with and without rBST. I believe TJs gets their dairy products from Berkeley Farms. Is this a matter of trust only? Perhaps, but these dairies have earned my trust. Their products taste better than those including rBST. I can't say that I have never had rBST, since I eat in restaurants and travel, but I won't willingly buy products containing rBST.

Monsanto? Gee, I have no particular axe to grind, but it does remind me how, when the state of California banned the use of a gasoline additive after finding it in many municipal water supplies, the Canadian manufacturer tried to sue the state, apparantly believing their profits at selling this chemical were more important than the safety of our drinking water. Charming.
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/13 10:40:58
I have moved to the edge of the farm scene over the last few years, but I am still on a lot of farm related mailing lists. I have only a few, long ago,college biology classes under my belt, and a good part of my bovine knowledge has faded from memory. To the best of my recollection, Monsanto after years of research, invented an injectable drug that fooled the cow's system into producing more milk. Good cow management is required, because the cow needs to eat better in order to have the biological resources to make the extra milk. All the drug does is to raise the level of a naturally occuring hormone in the cow. If one were to do a blood test on a group of cows, one would not be able to tell if high BST levels were due to good production breeding, or a little help from Monsanto. The public in general demands cheap milk and BST helps to make it possible. I think that the current "stand off" serves the public well. A dairy can sell me milk from untreated cows, without making claims that the milk is any different than from treated cows. I can then, as a consumer, choose between my options.
michaelgemmell
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/01/13 21:02:12
Thank you for your clarification, tmiles, and also for understanding I was not trying to start an argument. Let's hear it for consumer choices!
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/02/01 13:35:01
I came into some more info today. Lee Mielke, writing in the 31 Jan Country Folks, says that more rBst will be available soon. Monsanto has been allocating Posilac, their brand of recombinant bovine somatotropin since Dec 2003. Existing customers can order up to 115% of their historical average, but new customers are still out of luck. There should be plenty of rBst available when a new Georgia plant opens in 2006.
Hode
Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/02/01 13:55:55
Each year as we vacation on Cape Cod we treat ourselves to REAL butter made in Maine called Kate's Homemade butter. After all there are no calories in food when your on vacation. We have enjoyed Kate's on breads and seafood all aspects of cooking and eating.
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/02/01 14:50:25
I have enjoyed Kate's too. I used to buy it at Stop and Shop when it was on sale. They don't carry it anymore, and the clerk said that he thinks that they went out of business. Perhaps I could have helped by buying it at full price!!
dweller
Hamburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/02/02 16:29:26
quote:
Originally posted by michaelgemmell

Trader Joe's in the SF Bay Area carries the Plugra, as well as Kerrygold. The K comes in salted in most stores and both salted and unsalted in a few. You're right when you say salting butter keeps it wholesome longer. That Kerrygold is $2.39 for 1/2 # every day. Another market here puts Président French butter on sale, and I love it too.
[SNIP]


Kerrygold is close to a budget butter in the UK!

Doug
Rick F.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Butter-the essence of cooking 2005/02/02 17:25:51
My understanding is that salt extends the shelf life of butter as well as (potentially) masking off flavors. Unsalted butter is always preferred for baking because (as somebody famous said, "Cooking is art. Baking is science.") the use of salted butter would add an unpredictable variable.

We switch back and forth between the two depending on what we like: for instance, I always like salted butter on toast.

I don't know if this is the proper way to go about it, but if I need clarified butter, I simply melt a bit more than the recipe calls for, let it stand a while so the water & milk solids settle out, then chill it. When it's firmly set, I simply remove it from whatever it was in and remove the unwanted stuff.