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Rethinking a reliable kitchen standby

You might not have thought much about butter lately, but the ubiquitous kitchen staple deserves a second look. Today there are a number of products out there, both imported and domestic, that soar above the everyday standard. David Rosengarten, editor-in-chief of The Rosengarten Report encourages us to realize the simple pleasures of butter with these recipes.I started looking around to see what w
/ Source: TODAY

You might not have thought much about butter lately, but the ubiquitous kitchen staple deserves a second look. Today there are a number of products out there, both imported and domestic, that soar above the everyday standard. David Rosengarten, editor-in-chief of The Rosengarten Report encourages us to realize the simple pleasures of butter with these recipes.

I started looking around to see what was new out there in butter — and found to my delight, that the category has exploded! Like a super-nova! A plethora of small-dairy producers are churning it up in America now. Not to mention that the length of the list of current imports that took my breath away!

So I worked to devise a series of tests that would show us butter's best and maximize the differences among butters:

The Plain Eating Test: A half-teaspoon of butter in your mouth works wonders for your perception; the butter increases in complexity as your mouth warms it, and, as the butter melts away, you get a front-row seat with an unobstructed view of the butter’s texture.

The Sauté Test: What we made, in effect, was a kind of chicken francese — we pounded chicken cutlets, dipped them lightly in flour, then dipped them in beaten egg and then placed them in a sauté pan foaming with hot butter.

The Sauce Test: Of all the sauces out there, the best test of all is with the most butter-engorged sauce of all, the classic French beurre blanc.

Beurre Blanc

David Rosengarten

The Baking Test: To measure the way the butters perform in baking we came up with an ideal test, I think: butter cookies, very simply made from flour, sugar, a touch of vanilla…and lots of butter!

Many baking experts recommend starting your recipe with butter that's 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit then beating it with a fork, or "creaming" it, for 4-5 minutes, in hopes of beating in air that will lead to a lighter baked product.

After tasting almost 100 different butters, I am delighted to report that I was dazzled by the differences! I’m fully convinced that the extra butter effort is worth the time and trouble! Here is a list of some of the butters that performed well in the aforementioned tests:

The Plain Eating Test:

  • Smith Creamery Roll Butter, Salted
  • Le Gall Beurre de Baratte, Sill,
  • Fleur de Sel au Sel de Guérande

The Sauté Test:

  • Vermont Butter & Cheese Company Cultured Butter, Lightly Salted

The Sauce Test:

  • Beurremont 83% Beurre Grand Cru, Unsalted

The Baking Test:

  • Double Devon Cream Butter, Slightly Salted
  • Horizon Organic Sweet Cream Butter, Unsalted
  • Hope Creamery Minnesota Grade A Butter, Salted

For a complete copy of The Rosengarten Report “Buying Better Butter!” and for more information about David Rosengarten, please log on to: www.rosengartenreport.com/