Classic French cuisine uses butter exclusively for frying, sautéing, sauces and pastries.
Ever since the human genius invented the process of separating fat from milk, chefs have used butter.
Around the Mediterranean Sea, cooks prefer olive oil for a number of reasons. It is abundant, less expensive, easier to store than butter, and foodstuffs available taste better with olive oil. Pastures around the Mediterranean Sea are limited and more suitable for lamb and goats.
Northern European countries use butter. Quality depends on the flavour of the grass available, the breed of cow, season, and processing.
is mainly milk fat. Regular North American products contain 80 percent fat, milk solids, water and more often than not salt, which may constitute up to two percent of the total. Salt is used as a preservative and retains water, but also alters both the luxurious taste and texture of butter.
Normandy and Brittany in France are famous for their butter. Their butter is made using raw milk, specially developed cultures, exude a deep yellow colour, and a “buttery” aroma only unpasteurized products can. Their butterfat content is 82 percent and premium Normandy butter weighs in with 84 percent. English St Ivel from Cornwall and Gold’s from Jersey Island are fine butters worth experiencing. However, if you want to taste the best of the best, try the appellation controlled Beurre d’Echire from Normandy, still produced by the tried and true techniques invented a century ago. Alas, you must go France or any other European Union country to get this exquisite butter. It has 84 percent butterfat with a slightly sour taste due to the special culture used in its production.
In Canada, butter contains 80 percent butterfat. There are only three diaries and they dominate the market (Parmalat, Agropur and Saputo). Small dairies produce for local distribution. In Canada the problem with butter, quality starts at the farm. Before marketing boards were created to protect producers, most farmers used Jersey cows. Then “boards” decided to pay by quantity and farmers quickly started using high volume Holstein cows, that deliver low butterfat and little taste. Essentially the Canadian milk industry is highly protected and volume oriented; the reason of low quality. The best one can expect here is Lactantia unsalted from Quebec. You cannot obtain imported butter legally in Canada.
The Vermont Butter and Dairy produces a divine 86 percent butterfat, which may be as good, maybe even better than its European counterparts.
In the U. S. A. you can rely on Land-O-Lakes butter from Wisconsin.
In Italy, Piedmont produces an excellent and delicate butter. Bavaria in Germany is famous for its butter, so are Danish dairies.
New Zealand’s butter is also of high quality and exported to many far eastern countries. The Untied Kingdom is a significant importer of New Zealand butter as are many Caribbean islands.
Butter consumed in moderate quantities is far better than hydrogenated oils found in most processed foods like cookies and other types of pastry products.
If you ever experience a slice of home-baked whole wheat bread with St Ivel or Beurre d’Echire butter and properly made strawberry jam, you will never want to eat another butter. Puff pastry properly made with quality butter tastes incomparably better than those one gets in bakeries.
Butter has a low smoke point (200 C) and whole butter should be used only for sautéing, sauces or pastries exclusively.
Fore frying, cooks use clarified butter, which has a high smoke point. Producing clarified butter (East Indians call it ghee) is relatively simple. All you have to do is melt the butter and boil it while stirring constantly for 5 – 10 minutes. Let it cool then pour the liquid into a container to separate solids and water. The yield of clarified butter is 75 percent.
If you like the taste of butter but do not want to clarify, mix one part of butter with one part of olive oil, but be prepared to accept a diluted taste.
If happen to be in France or United Kingdom, ask for Beurre d’Echire or St. Ivel or Jersey Gold butter for breakfast.
You will never want to eat any other butter again!