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The Best Butter


JayPeeBee
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Hi All,

I found this thread fascinating. For store-bought butter, here in southern MN, I buy Pastureland Butter, made from milk from pastured cows. It is sold alongside Hope butter, and is the same high standard.

However, I also make a lot of our butter from raw milk from the pastured "happy cows" of MN. I set the raw cream, skimmed from the settled whole milk, out on the counter overnight to sour. With the cream now at room temperature, I use the processor much like fiftydollers, to make our butter, but wash my cultured butter by hand with a wooden spatula, with repeated changes of water. I salt with Celtic Gray salt, but Fleur de Sel also sounds very good to me, so I will have to try it next. I also save the initial buttermilk, as it is truly old-fashioned cultured buttermilk and very useful as such.

Raw milk and products made of it, from pastured cows are loaded with good things, like omega-3 fatty acids and CLA. When pastures are rapidly growing the butter is enriched with even more.

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Hi All,

I found this thread fascinating. For store-bought butter, here in southern MN, I buy Pastureland Butter, made from milk from pastured cows. It is sold alongside Hope butter, and is the same high standard.

However, I also make a lot of our butter from raw milk from the pastured "happy cows" of MN. I set the raw cream, skimmed from the settled whole milk, out on the counter overnight to sour. With the cream now at room temperature, I use the processor much like fiftydollers, to make our butter, but wash my cultured butter by hand with a wooden spatula, with repeated changes of water. I salt with Celtic Gray salt, but Fleur de Sel also sounds very good to me, so I will have to try it next. I also save the initial buttermilk, as it is truly old-fashioned cultured buttermilk and very useful as such.

Raw milk and products made of it, from pastured cows are loaded with good things, like omega-3 fatty acids and CLA. When pastures are rapidly growing the butter is enriched with even more.

Wow. Making your own butter.

So, just how does Pastureland compare to Hope butter? I occasionally see Pastureland, but always look for Hope. I'll have to keep a better eye out for Pastureland!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I use Plugra exclusively. Unsalted for baking and salted on our bread. My teenage daughter, who is a stickler for excellent baguettes, prefers salted Plugra.

The unsalted also makes an excellent all-butter pie crust. No need for (ugh!) shortening. The plugra makes a wonderful flaky, crisp crust. IMHO.

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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So, just how does Pastureland compare to Hope butter?  I occasionally see Pastureland, but always look for Hope.  I'll have to keep a better eye out for Pastureland!

I cannot say if there is a difference or not, personally. Several friends here have tried both and like both brands of butter. Rochester Produce is where I have seen them side by side. My friendly farmer - the one from whom I buy pastured meats, chickens and their eggs - also sell Pastureland butter (the dairy farmer who makes it is a friend of his). I am told that Pastureland is made and frozen while pastures are green, so that there is butter to sell over the winter with all the benefits of omega-3, CLA and Activator-X (the Price Factor or Activator X).

While I have not timed the process, making my own butter does not take long at all. It takes planning - and remembering to set out the cream to culture - but the washing stage takes the longest - maybe 10-15 minutes and I am done.

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David Rosengarten did a tasting and published his results in his Oct '04 newsletter. I don't have that handy, but here's what I remember: Smith Creamery butter came out #1 overall (the tests included sauteing, baking, sauces in addition to just eating the stuff e.g. on bread) but I don't think it was #1 for taste spread on bread...but it was close. It isn't readily available except locally (made in Louisiana, I believe) but after the newsletter came out is was available in a "tasting assortment" on iGourmet.com featuring Rosengarten's top butters.

I sent that tasting assortment to my foodie parents last Christmas and when I visited I got to taste all of them. I LOVED the Smith Creamery butter. Although I believe it is not cultured, it had a distinctively "cheesy" taste to it. Very rich and flavorful. Also liked all the others, but I forget what they were.

...update...

Looking at the Smith Creamery website, I found the following synopsis of The Rosengarten Report butter article.

"The report listed Smith Creamery butter as the "best above all others" (5-star). Rosengarten tested over 100 different butters. The second place finishers included: Upstate Farms in Buffalo, Laiterie Le Gall in France, Paris Gourmet from an anonymous dairy, Organic Valley of Farms in Wisconsin, Cooperative Isigny Sainte-Mere in France, Vermont Butter and Cheese company, and 5 more from France, England, Colorado and Pennsylvania."

Plugra, BTW, did ok but was certainly not in the top tier.

I agree with the comments made above about freshness. Rosengarten also pointed out the importance of freshness/age/storage of the butter. I think these factors are perhaps more important than the brand (at least in the home, where less butter is used and sub-optimal storage is common.

Chip Wilmot

Lack of wit can be a virtue

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Steingarten raved about Occelli, but later took it all back, saying that every package he had tried for several months had been rancid. I got it once in NYC at Zabar's, and it was superb, though priced VERY high. I've never seen it since then.

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I'll second the vote for Smith Creamery butter. They will ship to you if you contact them (tommyh@i-55.com). Their butter comes in 2# logs, and, my last order was $4.25/lb ($8.50 per log) and they have both sweet and salted butter. I believe they've had a price increase since then, and the shipping is somewhat expensive, but .... it's great butter, and well worth it IMHO. It's also nice to support a small farm business :)

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We in Atlantic Canada don't have to go far to get the best butter in the world. Two butters, salted and unsalted, from medium sized local dairy in Sussex, New Brunswick, Dairytown Ltd., beat out 1312 entrants from France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Italy , the U.S., et al, to win the title of the BEST BUTTER IN THE WORLD. It happened in March 2004 at the world's biggest cheese and butter competition held in Madison, Wis. The win at this event capped a long string of high placements and wins at many national and international judgings.

But...it's only available in Atlantic Canada, eh?

Hot home made bread slathered with Dairytown Butter...yummm mmm :raz:

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I find these "best butter studies" somewhat flawed because they don't take into account the little creameries like Pastureland (yes, found it today and it is comparable to Hope Butter) that are little and local.

I like little and local. I also like the fact that this stuff tastes as good as any of the high falutin' butters I've sampled.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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