23
   

Butter nostalgia?

 
 
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 06:49 pm
I remember butter tasting better when I was a kid.

I buy some expensive butters now trying to find one that tastes like the butter I remember and nothing comes close.

Some of the ones I've tried are Kerry Gold, Lurpak, and Parmigiano Reggiano Cream Butter (this is the butter made from the same cows that the cheese comes from), two made from local-ish big dairies (Tillimook, Darigold), and one made from a small local dairy (Jacob's) because these are the butters I can find easily.

They're all pretty good but not as good as the butter I remember. Am I suffering from butter nostalgia or has butter gotten bland?

What butter do you use?
 
spikepipsqueak
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:19 pm
@boomerang,
I miss butter, don't do dairy these days.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the major factor is probably your tastebuds.

The other thing is that I'm sure it used to be saltier when I was a kid, which is part of why it tasted awesome. They're probably reducing salt in response to consumer demand.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:23 pm
The butter I buy is fairly bland, also. But, I was made to eat margarine, as a kid. So I don't have much to compare it to.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:23 pm
We buy whatever butter is cheapest. There's not a whole lot of difference between them, either. Around here, Lactantia is supposedly the premium brand. I can't tell much of a difference. The taste doesn't seem to have changed over the years as far as i can tell, but that's also while acknowledging Spike's reference to taste buds.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:27 pm
I buy Challenge, because the label reads they don't use milk from cows that get hormones and drugs.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:31 pm
@boomerang,
You might have something, like how pork tastes nothing like it used to because we use different pigs. Milk is a commodity now, and it is all about money not taste. I think in this state all milk gets mixed at the dairy, so better cows making better milk would be pointless so no one tries. I was told that it works like gasoline, where every brand comes out of the same tap at the pipeline, that the only difference between Chevron gas and Safeway gas is the additive package that is mixed in as it goes into the truck. The gas is 99% the same stuff. With dairy there is different brands, but all the milk comes from the same place, the same cows/farms/machines.

A few years back I was eating at my favorite restaurant and I was stunned by how good the butter tasted. Turns out that it was organic butter from a particular farm that the restaurant bought at Pikes Market. My theory is that they use high quality milk from high quality cows and that it makes better butter than anyone can make with milk from the mega dairy. I would further guess that these are heirloom cows.

SIDE STORY: from about 1950 to 1971 my grandpa raised a kind of pig that had gone out of style. It made spectacular bacon, and since he had a small farm he did not raise much and he was able to sell his pigs to people who cared about such things and make money. I can well imagine somebody keeping a small band of old cows just to make great old style butter.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:33 pm
@boomerang,
Did you ever see the movie "butter"?

Actually a pretty good movie! Razz

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:35 pm
@boomerang,
I buy my grocery store brand butter because it's less expensive. But... when I spring for Land of Lakes, I don't find it different, and it probably is my taste buds' shortcoming. I don't go to the "better stores" because of distance. I remember back when I had a favorite italian grocery (well, I had two, but they were quite different places) in Los Angeles, the owner wanted me to try the good irish butter, and I don't think that was Kerry Gold but some other product that he put on some hearth type bread for me to try (but maybe it was). I did like it. I tried Kerry Gold from another grocery in another year, and it didn't seem worth more money, that day.

Back in CA, I used to buy Tillamook and Darigold; I might have liked Tillamook better.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 07:51 pm
another possibility

Quote:
Simply put, culturing butter consists of fermenting the cream before the butter is churned. Have you ever had crème fraîche? Then you've tasted cultured butter's parent. By introducing some dairy-friendly bacteria to the fresh cream, the sugars in the cream are converted to lactic acid; this, along with thickening the cream, produces additional aroma compounds that make for a more complex and "buttery" taste. You wouldn't think that souring cream would necessarily have a positive impact on the butter made from it, but surprisingly, it does: The butter absorbs just enough of the flavor compounds to acquire a subtle and completely addictive tang.

Here in the U.S., though, finding cultured butter — particularly good cultured butter — is a challenge. A couple of national brands are marketing European-style cultured butters with echoes of that unmistakable flavor, but to my taste none of them really hit the mark, and they don't come cheap.

Unfortunately, the pickings are even slimmer locally; of the few Washington dairies making small-batch butter, I couldn't find any that culture before churning. I was beginning to think I'd have to fly to Paris to satisfy my butter cravings until a tipoff led me to George Page, owner of Seabreeze Farm on Vashon Island. Page suggested I make my own.

"There's nothing easier," he told me on the phone. "Just get yourself some really good cream — raw has the most flavor, if you're comfortable with it, but any organic cream will do — add a bit of starter culture, and leave it to thicken for a day or so before churning. Also, a little-known trick is to hold back a bit of the cream each time to use as the starter in the next batch. The flavor will continue to develop."

But will it really be good enough to justify the trouble of making it at home?

He laughed. "Oh, there's no comparison. The flavor of cultured butter is so much more deep, rich and complex. Once you taste it you'll never want to go back."


http://seattletimes.com/html/pacificnw/2009533119_pacificptaste26.html


This would argue that government food safety regulations killed the taste of butter. We do know that the US government has has a multi decade war against artisan cheeses that dont follow modern food safety regulations. I was just reading that French cheese varieties are disappearing at an alarming rate due to French Government food safety regulations.

the Odwella case scared the pants off of manufacturers. Lawyers will not allow US regulations to be toyed with, because the gained liability can easily kill companies

Quote:
The outbreak occurred because Odwalla sold unpasteurized fruit juices,[3][12] though pasteurization had long been standard in the juice industry,[15] claiming that the process of pasteurization alters the flavor and destroys at least 30% of nutrients and enzymes in fruit juice.[3] Instead, Odwalla relied on washing usable fruit with sanitizing chemicals before pressing. Because of the lack of pasteurization and numerous other flaws in its safety practices (one contractor warned that Odwalla's citrus processing equipment was poorly maintained and was breeding bacteria in "black rotten crud"),[1] the company was charged with 16 criminal counts of distributing adulterated juice. Odwalla pled guilty,[11][16] and was fined $1.5 million: the largest penalty in a food poisoning case in the United States. With the judge's permission, Odwalla donated $250,000 of the $1.5 million to fund research in preventing food-borne illnesses.[17] In addition, the company spent roughly another $12 million settling about a dozen lawsuits from families whose children were infected.[18]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_E._coli_case_from_Odwalla_juice
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 08:55 pm
America's Test Kitchen did a butter tasting a few years ago. They determined that the butters that were foil wrapped, rather than wrapped in wax paper, had better, fresher flavor. The foil is supposed to better protect the butter from absorbing aromas in refrigerators and freezers that the paper wrapped butters accumulate in the various storage facilities at the distributor, store and consumer locations.

Their best picks were all foil wrapped except for Land o Lakes which uses a specialized paper the other brands don't use.


Here's a link to their taste test analysis.

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/taste_tests/548-unsalted-butter
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 08:58 pm
@Butrflynet,
What you might do is purchase some high quality heavy cream and make your own butter with the amount of salt you prefer. In school, I remember us kids taking turns shaking a jar of cream until we had butter. You could probably just whip it with a mixer until it turns to butter.

That might help you determine if your memory of the taste of butter is accurate.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 09:02 pm
Point of clarification: often food safety regulation dont mean that something cant be done, simply that the costs of doing it go up. Manufacturer's are selling to americans raised on Walmart and who will drive two miles to save three cents a gal on gas.....when it comes to cheap/quality the bet is that the market wants cheap. Every airline for instance that has bet the other way has regretted it.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 09:17 pm
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
Point of clarification

As in clarified butter?
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 09:19 pm
The difference between grass/alfalfa fed and corn/soy fed.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 09:25 pm
@boomerang,
Your problem, boomerang? You deleted TCOICBINB from your signature line. Get it back and all will be well.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 09:43 pm
@Ragman,
Ragman wrote:

Quote:
Point of clarification

As in clarified butter?


YOU GOT IT!
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 10:46 pm
Prob not the problem, but maybe cause watering down product has the same effect every time....

Quote:
In the US, butter must contain 80% minimum butterfat by law. Since water is cheaper than butterfat, most commercial butter is blended down to 80% post churning. Cultured small batch butter ends up at more like 86%.

http://www.positron.org/food/butter/
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 May, 2014 12:03 am
Here's an article in The Atlantic on the subject.

https://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/98jun/butter.htm
0 Replies
 
spikepipsqueak
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 May, 2014 12:48 am
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

What you might do is purchase some high quality heavy cream and make your own butter with the amount of salt you prefer. In school, I remember us kids taking turns shaking a jar of cream until we had butter. You could probably just whip it with a mixer until it turns to butter.

That might help you determine if your memory of the taste of butter is accurate.


I have made butter by accident (do not walk away from the mixer when you are whipping cream) and making your own is very possible, but just removes the problem by one, unless you have a source of good quality cream.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 May, 2014 03:43 am
@Butrflynet,
That's interesting. All the butter we buy is foil-wrapped. Maybe that's one reason it doesn't seem possible to distinguish one from the other.
 

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