Organic butter. Image credits:all photos in this post are by J. Laumer
There's nothing like fresh-baked bread with butter. Chocolate chip cookies made with sick amount of butter...are wonderful. Olive oil on my breakfast toast or popcorn? Not a chance.
I mention this to set the stage for my recent buttery-wonderful discovery. I don't care if it's more expensive: organic butter tastes like all butter did, and holds its shape like it did, when I was a kid in Wisconsin. The only question is: how regular store butter got as bland and tasteless and shapeless as it has become.Actually, this is an exaggeration. I also wonder how Wisconsin politics went off the deep end. Back to the butter...
Melting point of organic butter is significantly different.
I happened upon the superior characteristics of organic butter by pure chance, having accidentally grabbed a pound of the above-pictured brand while shopping in a hurry last summer. Before that day, I always got it on sale and had no brand preference.
When I got my pound of organic butter home I unwrapped a stick and dropped it into my butter container, nestled up against a partly-used stick of the mass market stuff.
Being in the habit of leaving the butter out so it stays soft enough for spreading - I do this on all but the hottest of days, year round - I was surprised a few hours later to see that the regular stick had flattened and separated while the organic stick was still true to form. Over the following weeks I tested the melting effect with multiple brands of both types and always got the same result.
By the end of August I had an "ah Hah!" moment. From way in the back of the cupboard I fished out my European butter dish: the kind where you pack the butter in a cup and store the butter cup upside down in a receiving dish that has maybe a half inch of water. I had bought that dish assuming it was a centuries old technique for keeping butter a bit fresher, as oxygen exchange was reduced by the water seal, and that it would work perfectly. (I like traditional designs.) It was a total failure, as, on a warm fall day, American-style mass market butter would plop down into the water, separate, & make a mess - which is why it had been banished to the shadowy cupboard corner. Though no more!
I tried my European butter cup with organic butter and it worked as advertised. Didn't matter what brand or style, salted or not - several of which are shown in this post - it held together and tasted better. I can get that delicious butter taste on popcorn and toast and such with a lot less butter: clearly better for my health and budget.
I've heard that cows have to eat grass and not just corn fodder for butter to have a great flavor, but I can't test that myself. Is this true?
Are the commodity butter brands homogenized with extra water, lowering the melting point?
Or, are non-organic herds so stressed that the butter fat content of milk is materially changed?
Alternatively, are other fats added or particularly tasty butter constituents extracted for other markets, shifting the melting point?
Should I just take my luck and stop worrying?
Let's try some herd computing to shake up the commodity brand managers who will get this link forwarded to them Monday AM. Comment away!