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It Doesn't Get Butter Than This!

Don't just throw your usual butter in the cart during your next visit to the grocery store. Butter is the secret ingredient that takes your food from ordinary to extraordinary! Try out anyone of these butters and trust me, you'll taste the difference.

When it comes to picking ingredients, many people skim over butter. It never tends to be the focus or the star, except in the occasional bread basket, and most shoppers don’t give their butter choice much thought. The interesting truth is that this one simple ingredient can be a real game changer. Nothing can elevate a simple slice of bread, sauce or dessert faster than using a quality European-style butter.

Consumers are paying attention to the origin and production of their food, but butter remains a sleeper category in the dairy. With its rich history and the current renaissance of high-quality, small batch domestic and imported products, there is a lot of opportunity to stand out. Especially considering how easily this staple ingredient can change a dish, it is a no-brainer to have a wider selection of quality options for customers in the dairy section.

Starting with the basics, butter is a mixture of water, fat and sometimes salt. Cream is separated from milk and agitated (or churned, back before industrial production took off) until the fat molecules start to clump together. The cream is churned until these fat molecules form butter, and the remaining liquid, buttermilk, is drained off and used for its own purposes. It is said that butter was first discovered by nomads over 4000 years ago, when they carried milk with them. The natural movement was enough churning to create a rudimentary form of butter that would not look so similar to the homogenized version we are used to today.

Small batch butters, like the ones we have compiled, are churned for a much longer period of time at a gentler pace. This allows the cream to develop more refined flavor that you will be able to identify and savor when eaten on bread or crackers, melted over grilled vegetables or when otherwise eaten in its natural state.

The standard butter on the shelf has at minimum 80 percent butterfat. That’s the basic, but the butters we have compiled range in butterfat content from 82 to 86 percent. A common question is, does an extra 2 or 6 percent really matter when it comes to baking and cooking?

Butter with less fat content has more water. When it comes to baking dough, pastry and delicate desserts, this ratio absolutely makes an impact on the final product. With more water, the butter will act as a binder and glue together layers of dough, making a tougher pastry. Using a high-quality butter like the ones in this spread will result in a better elasticity and flakiness in pastries. When cooking, these will allow you to get a restaurant-quality pan sear or a decadent sauce. All in all, butterfat does makes a difference. For refined cooking and baking, the more the better.

Another common question that needs to be addressed: salted or unsalted? Salt was originally added to butter as a means of preservation. Now, the reason to choose one butter over the depends on personal preference and how you plan on using it. Unsalted butter will allow the natural flavors of the cream to come through; the sweet cream flavors will be very pronounced. Salted butter will, obviously, taste saltier and will come across more in final dishes. For baking, unsalted butter allows you to completely control the recipe and taste. Salted butter has some added, and this can influence the final product.

Butter is making a comeback, so make sure to keep up. Having a variety of options, choices, and a basic knowledge about them will allow you to stay ahead of the game.

Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter

"Deliciously Cultured, Ridiculously Creamy". Inspired by European dairy farms, Vermont Creamery cultures the freshest, high quality Vermont cream from the local St. Albans Cooperative of 500 family farms. To create this ultra rich and creamy butter, Vermont Creamery butter makers add live bacterial cultures to the cream. By morning, the cream has thickened and developed notes of buttermilk and hazelnut.

Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter

A true pot of gold! "The winds, rain and warming influence of the Gulf Stream all contribute to the lush grass [the] cows feed on year-round. They produce the sweetest, richest milk in the world, which makes [Kerrygold] grass-fed cow’s milk Irish butter taste silky and creamy and glow a healthy, golden yellow." At 82% butterfat, Kerrygold's rich and creamy taste elevates every meal.

Ronnybrook Farm European Style Butter

Ronnybrook Farms European Style Butter has a whopping 84-86% butterfat content! This butter is crafted in small, 40-gallon batches, "which produces a higher butter fat content and allows for very little moisture. It doesn't burn as quickly when cooking; chefs prefer it!" Amazing for cooking, even better slathered on a piece of warm, fresh bread!

So, next time you're shopping, don't just go for your usual butter and instead open your eyes to all of the delicious options! Your taste buds will thank you.

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