Rich, creamy butter. Melting warm and spreading it’s wonderful flavor all over your food. And when the two combine … then magic happens. It’s the difference between a bagel alone and a bagel with beautiful butter melting all over it. There’s really no comparison, and in fact, just writing this is making my mouth water. The French Roast Coffee sitting on the desk is looking pretty lonely right about now … I think I’ll saunter down to Abraham’s Bagels as soon as I finish writing this. ..
Well depending upon where you are (the Organic Test Kitchen blog reaches 25 countries around the world as of this writing) you may be use to the standard factory production butter. This is especially true if you live here in the USA. If this is all you’ve ever eaten then you’re probably OK with it, but I seriously doubt that you’re excited about it. Well, check this product out and prepare to get excited.
First, this is a cultured butter. And basically what that means is that the butter is made from fermented cream. This actually sours it and produces truly incredible taste notes in butters. And of course, the typical non-organic production butters have such a lack of character that “natural flavors” must be added to make them palatable. … That alone is a red flag to keep me away from the stuff. .. Second, this is a European Style Butter. Basically, this is a term that refers to the fact that good butters in Europe have a significantly higher butterfat content than in the USA. Typical American butters will contain about 80% butterfat which coincidentally they have to contain in order to be legally sold as butter over here. So, as expected, they will make the product as cheaply as possible and stay as close to this minimum as they can. European butters on the other hand tend to run about 84-85% butterfat providing a creamier, richer product. The Organic Valley Butter has 84% butterfat. … nice.
In writing this I’ve come to realize that we need to do a primer on butter in the future. But for the purposes of this review we’ll focus on how good this product really is. You’ll first meet this butter in the market where you’ll notice that it is sold in an 8 oz foil wrapped blocks. Percentage-wise the price is greater than that of regular or even other common organic butters. But as you know percentage differences in low cost items only amounts to a buck or so. But we did keep this in mind and one of the questions we needed to answer was “Is is worth it?”.
On the way back to the kitchen we swung around to Abraham’s in town to pick up some bagels to see how this butter really performs under mission-critical circumstances. … First, we unpacked everything and opened up the foil revealing a good looking but not over the top yellow appearance. In short, it looked real. As an aside, the producer informs us that the color or this butter will vary with the seasons. In the Summer when the cows are in pasture the cream will contain a higher beta-carotene content leading to a deeper yellow color than during the Winter when the cows are eating stored forage. This is the difference from a product that is “grown” rather than manufactured in a cookie cutter fashion. … Anyway, we then cut some thin slices and spread them on the cutting board to soften. It seemed a bit more challenging than the typical stick to cut. .. This is probably due to a combination of the rectangular block configuration and the higher butterfat content. … Anyway, a bagel was then sliced and toasted while the butter was warming up…
Show time.. By the time the bagel was ready the butter softening wasn’t complete so we let the bagel do the rest of the work by placing the butter on it’s warm golden surface (totally reliving this experience). .. Appearance-wise the butter began to glisten and form pools of creamy happiness. .. Taste. At a new level. Words that come to mind are wonderful, creamy, buttery, homemade.
So in summary, this product definitely gets the Organic Test Kitchen “Pure Goodness” Award. It really is that good. And, really worth the price. This is now our go-to butter for topping breads and warm veggies. For now we’ll still keep with the organic stick butter for baking since it will save a few cents. But we’ll be running comparison tests and if this butter provides a superior baked product we’ll switch it for this as well. … I’m really interested to see the effect of the cultured flavor notes and the higher butterfat content. They claim that it produces a flakier pastry. Maybe they’re right, but the proof is in the baking. I’ll let you know.
Other bites. .. Being organic this product is made with no artificial this or “natural flavor additive” that. They are also earth friendly as we would expect from an organic product. In fact, they have a nice statistic on their website stating that “Your weekly purchase of 8oz European Style Cultured Butter prevents …. 10 lbs synthetic nitrogen (and) 2.3 oz synthetic herbicides & pesticides” In our opinion this is nice to keep off of the planet and out of our bodies. .. Other notes. This butter won first place at the 2009 American Cheese Society Awards (.. who knew there was an American Cheese Society anyway?). .. We think that if you try this product you will be pleased. A link to the producer’s website is here.
And as a final note, hopefully you’ve notice that this blog up is being taken up a notch. Just launched a flickr site (link to my photostream is here) that will house the photography, will be upgrading the format of this blog, have the twitter thing started (link here) and will be starting a new blog devoted solely to good cooking & baking that will be announced when ready. Anyway, the purpose of all this is that I hope you will be getting more out of this. If so, please share this blog with your friends. With even more readers I would like to take this full time so more content can be generated and hopefully more people seeing the reasons and benefits to converting to an organic lifestyle. For themselves and for the planet. Thanks.