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A Butter Test


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#16 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:02 PM


I'm sticking with Kerrygold, $2.79 for 8 oz., at Trader Joe's.

That's a great price! I need to see if my local TJ's carries it.


That's an excellent price. KerryGold here in NJ usually sells for about $4.50 - $5 for the 8 oz package. KerryGold was in the bottom third of the 15 or so butters tested.

The Organic Valley cultured butter scored lower than the OV regular unsalted, which I found odd. I usually buy OV unsalted, which sells for around $6 a pound here. Their cultured butter is about $9 a pound.

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#17 Orik

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:35 PM

I think if you're used to sweet butter, cultured can seem a bit off (which it is, after all).
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#18 Nancy S.

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:06 PM

Cooks Illustrated has the report of a test on unsalted butters, premium and store / mass market brands.

The process was to select butters from several different stores, and test them by a professional testing company on several hundred subjects for "freshness", "creaminess", "taste" and any other adjectives the testee would offer. Bread and crackers were used, and the order of butters sampled was changed regularly.

Plugra won highly recommended status. 83% butterfat, $9.98 a pound. Hit all the right notes.

Land o'Lakes unsalted regular butter came in second, leading their recommended group. 82%, $4.77 a pound in their purchases. I bought some for holiday baking last week for 2.50, so discounts are widely available

Vermont Creamery butter came in third. 86%, $11.98 a pound. Good comments, although at least one subject reported a "mineral" taste.

The article noted that some bakers prefer to use very high butterfat butter in their pastries, but use 82% or lower butterfat butter in their cookies due to more even melting in the cookie preparation. In their testing, higher butterfat butter is more likely not to completely melt, leaving clumps of butter in the prep. I've not experienced that result.

Horizon and Organic Valley were in the middle of the pack.

Just curious -- is this a new test, or the a reprint of the one performed a few years back. In any case, Lurpak (lightly salted) is my butter of choice in New York for all uses. In baked goods, I think the taste is superior to any unsalted variety.

#19 Really Nice!

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:18 PM

Wow, Cooks Illustrated testing some food products I can actually buy on the west coast. Facinating! :)

I used to buy Plugra at TJs for $3.99 a pound but they no longer carry it. Now I just buy whatever's on sale or make my own.

#20 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:54 PM


Cooks Illustrated has the report of a test on unsalted butters, premium and store / mass market brands.

The process was to select butters from several different stores, and test them by a professional testing company on several hundred subjects for "freshness", "creaminess", "taste" and any other adjectives the testee would offer. Bread and crackers were used, and the order of butters sampled was changed regularly.

Plugra won highly recommended status. 83% butterfat, $9.98 a pound. Hit all the right notes.

Land o'Lakes unsalted regular butter came in second, leading their recommended group. 82%, $4.77 a pound in their purchases. I bought some for holiday baking last week for 2.50, so discounts are widely available

Vermont Creamery butter came in third. 86%, $11.98 a pound. Good comments, although at least one subject reported a "mineral" taste.

The article noted that some bakers prefer to use very high butterfat butter in their pastries, but use 82% or lower butterfat butter in their cookies due to more even melting in the cookie preparation. In their testing, higher butterfat butter is more likely not to completely melt, leaving clumps of butter in the prep. I've not experienced that result.

Horizon and Organic Valley were in the middle of the pack.

Just curious -- is this a new test, or the a reprint of the one performed a few years back. In any case, Lurpak (lightly salted) is my butter of choice in New York for all uses. In baked goods, I think the taste is superior to any unsalted variety.


It was in the current edition of the Cooks Illustrated magazine, so I figured it was somewhat recent.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#21 StephanieL

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:27 AM

I never buy salted butter, as I can't be bothered to get salted for eating and unsalted for baking. If I want a salt flavor on buttered bread, I'll just add a handful.

Once I started buying Plugra, LoL tasted insipid. I'll also sometimes get Kerrygold or Lurpak.
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#22 bigbear

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 03:42 AM

My great-grandfather spread goose fat on his bread. One of these days, I'll come across some and try it.
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#23 Lippy

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:23 PM

My great-grandfather spread goose fat on his bread. One of these days, I'll come across some and try it.

It's readily available at Schaller & Weber.

#24 Daniel

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:59 PM

I usually use LOL and for shmancy times we have that Parm Butter which Miss A use to get for a greatly reduced price.. Last night, I went to the butter cabinet and there was this non branded butter.. I cut a quarter stick and threw it in the pan for Miss A's potatoes.. I was really surprised at how the butter felt in my hands.. I liken it to that cheap Ice Cream that has been super aerated. It felt lighter than it should have and it smeared all strange..

But, yeh, Land of Lakes is good stuff.. Plus, I occasionally like to do the cut out trick where you can cut her knees off and place them on her back and cut a flap on the butter so, it looks like her chest is there. Whats better than that!

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#25 ghostrider

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 03:15 PM

I'm partial to Kate's Homemade butter, though I may have convinced myself that it's good because it's Made In Maine - my brain will do that to me sometimes. :blink: Some folks find it bland; I think of it as subtle & sweet.

I've never tried Plugra because I only seem to encounter it on hot days far from home when I don't have an cold pack in the car. One of these days all the pieces will fall into place. I remember being served butters for breakfast in Switzerland that were extremely good, so I know there's other stuff out there to enjoy.

I developed a preference for unsalted butter in the late 1970s, I came to like the way it tasted on corn, with the addition of my own salt, better than the salted+salt combo. Then I found I liked it better that way on potatoes & vegetables & pretty much everything.
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#26 Lauren

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 07:06 PM

I buy the salted butter at Costco for every day use. For those occasions where a better butter is required I buy Plugra, Kerrygold or that French butter with the salt crystals (I forget what it's called).
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#27 SLBunge

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 07:10 PM

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I'm definitely going to try this next Thanksgiving weekend.
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#28 Daniel

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 07:24 PM

They key is to get cut the butter so it can flip up and back.. And then you casually say to someone, did you know about the secret behind Land o Lakes.. If you flip up the butter, you can see....... Hours of fun..
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#29 Daniel

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 06:32 PM

The crap butter I am talking about is Hotel Bar Butter from Keller's Creamery.. It's in that blue package.. That stuff is no good..
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#30 Rail Paul

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 07:42 PM

The crap butter I am talking about is Hotel Bar Butter from Keller's Creamery.. It's in that blue package.. That stuff is no good..


I did a little background searching and learned that Borden's Dairy, Breakstone's, Keller's, Hotel Bar, and Plugra (!) all share the same corporate parent. There's an additional dairy brand called Falfurrias from Winnsboro TX. It's an outfit called Dairy Farmers of America located in Kansas City.

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Falfurria's is a Texas butter brand, and it's kosher certified, they say.

Falfurria

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman