Food & Wine

Finding a better butter for bread

Photo By: Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Photo Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier Local grocers now routinely stock European butter brands.

As you prepare to slather butter and jam on a warm slab of Irish soda bread next week, take a moment to ponder your sources.

It’s become easy to find Irish butter in the Bay Area, as shops ranging from Trader Joe’s to The Milk Pail Market stock brands like Kerrygold.

There’s more than marketing behind the products – European brands typically contain more fat and less moisture than their American equivalent, which affects the taste and texture of the butter.

Because they’re often more expensive, these butters are sometimes thought of as “eating butters” – a splurge for spreading on bread, rather than for big baking projects.

Want to branch out? Try Lurpak, a Danish brand, or Plugra, an American butter made in the European style.

Or try making your own – even if you lack a traditional wooden churn, you can agitate heavy cream in a securely lidded jar until its butterfat solids begin to separate from buttermilk. Strain the solids in a cheesecloth and turn the proto-butter out onto a clean board and knead, adding salt to taste. The more water you squeeze out, the more intense a product you’ll create.

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