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"Dry" butter


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#1 tan319

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 03:20 PM

In Frederic Bau's book, he lists 'dry' butter for puff paste as an ingredient.
can anyone tell me about this?
Thanks, as always :biggrin:
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#2 mjc

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 04:13 PM

I looked up the recipe for puff pastry in a bunch of books (friberg, herme, MacLauchlan, torres). It looks to me like dry butter is butter that has had a small amount of flour worked into it. This is done so that the dough and butter have the "same consistency" and temperature (according to friberg) when you work them together. It looks like a good ratio for mixing the flour and butter is about 1 part flour to 4 parts butter. Friberg Mixes: 1990 g butter with 5g salt, 3 T lemon juice, and 510 g bread flour. MacLauchlan does 510g butter, 140 g flour, 1 t brandy. Torres freezes his butter, but does not mix in flour.

Edited by mjc, 09 June 2003 - 04:19 PM.

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#3 tan319

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 04:47 PM

I looked up the recipe for puff pastry in a bunch of books (friberg, herme, MacLauchlan, torres).  It looks to me like dry butter is butter that has had a small amount of flour worked into it.  This is done so that the dough and butter have the "same consistency" and temperature (according to friberg) when you work them together.  It looks like a good ratio for mixing the flour and butter is about 1 part flour to 4 parts butter.  Friberg Mixes: 1990 g butter with 5g salt, 3 T lemon juice, and 510 g bread flour.  MacLauchlan does 510g butter, 140 g flour, 1 t brandy.  Torres freezes his butter, but does not mix in flour.

Thanks for the info.
I guess Bau assumes the mix. I thought perhaps it was an ingredient you purchase.
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#4 Louisa Chu

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 06:01 PM

Dry butter is not butter with flour mixed in. It is just low water content butter. It is an ingredient that is just purchased commercially in France - huge blocks, blue plastic bag.

#5 Dave the Cook

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 06:13 PM

Dry butter is not butter with flour mixed in. It is just low water content butter. It is an ingredient that is just purchased commercially in France - huge blocks, blue plastic bag.

OK, I have to know: why blue?

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#6 Louisa Chu

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 06:18 PM

Why blue? I don't know. Because garbage bags are green? Doggie poop bags are black? I don't know - they just are. :biggrin:

#7 Kareen

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 06:32 PM

From wHat I know, dry butter is actualy defined by tHe feed of tHe animal, wHicH cHange tHe water vs. solid content in tHe butter. Dry butter come in season wHen tHe animal is feed dried Hay. THe closest tHing you could use for tHose recipes is European butter because it as a mucH bigger fat content(82% instend of 67%), ie less water, and will produce a better puff pastry.

#8 Dave the Cook

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 06:57 PM

...Doggie poop bags are black...

I had no idea! Don't tell my beagle.

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#9 tan319

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 07:13 PM

Dry butter is not butter with flour mixed in. It is just low water content butter. It is an ingredient that is just purchased commercially in France - huge blocks, blue plastic bag.

Thank you for the info,Loufood.
So, would something like Plugra (? on spelling) be a good butter? Or a Normandie type?
BTW, will you do a pastry externship?
I think I read that you were stoked on working with Herme.
Thanks again.
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#10 mjc

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 07:52 PM

clearly they don't teach us enough about butter in medical school. :biggrin:
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#11 tan319

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 08:28 PM

clearly they don't teach us enough about butter in medical school.  :biggrin:

naaa, you just have to investigate more :biggrin:
It looks like you have a lot of books on hand.
If you want to blow more bux on books, may I suggest:

http://www.chipsbooks.com/slds.htm
Some serious stuff there, my friend :cool:
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#12 Louisa Chu

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 04:40 PM

tan, I'd asked my CB chefs before about substituting standard French supermarket butter for dry butter. After blinking and staring at me - as if I'd asked the question in Chinese - and helpfully suggesting that I should really just go and try to find some dry butter somewhere - like asking my local patisserie if they'd sell me some on the side - they finally said that it might work to just leave the water out of the detrempe. So maybe that might work with Plugra or a "Normandie" butter. Just add water as you really need it. As far as my pastry stage/externship, I don't know now. I would love to stage at Herme but I just don't know if I can anymore due to forces beyond my control. I will let you know as soon as I do. I do have a good friend who's staging at Herme now so I'm getting the insider story from her. Will keep you posted.

Dave, now you know. And if you and your beagle are ever in town, you are welcome to stop by and see our ever growing collection of black baggies.

#13 Suzanne F

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:04 AM

I'm confused (so what else is new?). Why would you want low-water butter in puff pastry? I mean, isn't it the STEAM that makes it puff? Then again, the water content in the butter is minimal anyway compared to the rest of the recipe, so why bother?

#14 mjc

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:45 AM

I'm confused (so what else is new?).  Why would you want low-water butter in puff pastry?  I mean, isn't it the STEAM that makes it puff?  Then again, the water content in the butter is minimal anyway compared to the rest of the recipe, so why bother?

I would guess its related to what I said in my first post, about the flour and butter being similar consistencies. Is that right?
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#15 rickster

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 08:29 AM

I'm confused (so what else is new?). Why would you want low-water butter in puff pastry? I mean, isn't it the STEAM that makes it puff? Then again, the water content in the butter is minimal anyway compared to the rest of the recipe, so why bother?


I think the answer is that there is an optimum amount of water in butter to be used for puff pastry/croissant dough, etc., and most American store butter has too high a water content. While you need water for steam, too much water in the butter means that same of it leaches into the dough before it is converted to steam, makes the layers soggy and prevents an optimum rise. This is just a matter of degree-it still puffs, just not as well as a low water butter.

#16 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 06:14 AM

Reason I was, and still am, unsure: I used to work at Dufour Pastry Kitchens, where they used regular butter, the same kind used in restaurants to cook/serve. And their puff pastry dough is terrific. Maybe there's something about American flour that compensates for the water in the butter??? And French flour is different from American, of course.

I did just check Nancy Silverton's puff pastry recipe, and she says to knead the butter and blot off any water it gives up. Which doesn't help my confusion, but certainly adds credence to what everybody else is saying.

#17 rickster

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 06:46 AM

To confuse matters further, I read something somewhere once that said that Dufour, while an excellent product, was not a true puff pastry dough. Maybe it has something to do with the production process? When you say that they use the same butter as restaurants, do you mean Plugra? because that is a lower water butter vs. say a Land o Lakes.

#18 Lesley C

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 02:28 PM

The steam you want is from the dough. Wet butter seeps into the dough when you make the turns, thus diminishing the layering effect.
A French pastry chef I know makes dry butter (often refered to as "beurre carotte" because it is tinted orange as not to be sold commercially) by mixing frozen butter at high speed in a big Hobart, then squeezing out any water.

#19 tan319

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 09:15 PM

The steam you want is from the dough. Wet butter seeps into the dough when you make the turns, thus diminishing the layering effect.
A French pastry chef I know makes dry butter (often refered to as "beurre carotte" because it is tinted orange as not to be sold commercially) by mixing frozen butter at high speed in a big Hobart, then squeezing out any water.

That's pretty wild!
Thanks for that post, lesley :biggrin:
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#20 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 09:48 PM

To the best of my experience, the top pastry chefs do work with the best ingredients available and don't take shortcuts in places where they are capable of doing things "correctly". Which leads me to believe that Bau is referring to a Plugra type butter. Which seems to be commonly used in Europe although pretty rare in any pastry kitchen I've worked at in the States.

Adding flour to your butter for the rolling in, is a shortcut I don't think Bau would take. Why- he know's how to handle the butter at the right temp./density. No shortcut because: His book isn't on the same teaching level as someone like Frieberg nor is he selling his books to homemakers like Torres or Silverton. His book is professional to professional.

Beating frozen butter to release extra h2o would leave you with a higher fat to liquid butter like a pulgra. So either buy the better butter or try to dry it as described.

Having a butter with excess liquid content or salt is never optimum in the pastry kitchen. Rarely will something totally fail because of it either, but you won't get the "best" results which is what Bau is trying to give you. The steam puffing effect isn't coming from the water content of the butter, that's unwanted. Too much steam and your layers don't dry out and layer nicely.

Edited by Sinclair, 13 June 2003 - 09:58 PM.


#21 jango

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 11:41 PM

... mixing frozen butter at high speed in a big Hobart, then squeezing out any water.

Why frozen butter? How does it release water more than just chilled butter?

#22 beans

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 12:19 AM

While this doesn't add to or offer solutions, I have recently come to understand "dry" butters when I shopped for something for the Christmas holiday celebrations and came up with Echire. It even advertises it is a "dry" butter and I understood from my own endeavours.

Maybe I haven't run around some of the best of the top notch pastry kitchens, but I know of plenty of professionals that reference Frieberg, Torres, Silverton that do not necessarily constitute homemakers in any sense of the word.

#23 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 06:29 AM

Please, I HIGHLY envy Frieberg, Silverton and Torres their all brilliant pastry chefs, I'd never speak poorly of any of them. Nor have I worked in the best pastry kitchens. And I DO use all three of their published books as reference.

But I stand by my comments as literally as I wrote them. There is a difference between the audiences each book was written to. The first place that becomes apparent is in the use of measurements. When a book is published using imperial measurements instead of weights that's because they are forced to by publishers who want to apeal to more then just professional chefs. Then look at the amount of directions given. The pro to pro books assume you understand proceedure and rarely give method more then once through out the entire book.

I'm sorry I've gotten off track. Just wanted to explain my previous comments.


About drying the butter. I've only accidently come across this, it's not something I practice. How this works or happens is: ice cold butter doesn't incorporate liquids (that's why you use it at room temp. when baking). So when you beat it at a high speed when it's really cold it's sort of sweats out some of it's liquid. You have to use paper towels to soak up the liquid, it's not quite as dramatic as melted then chilled butter where the two seperate and you can pour off the water. The fat and liquids want to seperate when very cold. But if you do this with butter that's not ice cold, the butter will incorporate the liquid. Hope that made sense.

Edited by Sinclair, 14 June 2003 - 06:48 AM.


#24 Lesley C

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 07:43 AM

Sinclair you are 100% correct about the audience for different kinds of books. Bau, Bellouet, Perruchon, and other such pastry chef (even Herme in some books) is writing for the professional. Pros have a whole different range of products available to them. Also, French pastry chefs are using very different products than American chefs. For instance, that beurre carotte is completely different from Plugra. They even have a special butter for making buttercreams.

#25 jango

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 05:55 PM

About drying the butter. I've only accidently come across this, it's not something I practice. How this works or happens is: ice cold butter doesn't incorporate liquids (that's why you use it at room temp. when baking). So when you beat it at a high speed when it's really cold it's sort of sweats out some of it's liquid. You have to use paper towels to soak up the liquid, it's not quite as dramatic as melted then chilled butter where the two seperate and you can pour off the water. The fat and liquids want to seperate when very cold. But if you do this with butter that's not ice cold, the butter will incorporate the liquid. Hope that made sense.

Thanks for answering. Fascinating and yes, it makes sense.

#26 Suzanne F

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 10:37 AM

To confuse matters further, I read something somewhere once that said that Dufour, while an excellent product, was not a true puff pastry dough. Maybe it has something to do with the production process? When you say that they use the same butter as restaurants, do you mean Plugra? because that is a lower water butter vs. say a Land o Lakes.

To be honest, I don't remember a specific brand of butter being used; mostly it was the generic stuff from Harry Wils. NOT Plugras, of that I am sure.

As for it not being true puff pastry -- dunno, it was made the way I was taught in school, except that in school we didn't have sheeters for rolling the dough. Maybe they meant the other varieties, such as whole wheat, chocolate, or margarine?