What Is Cultured Butter?
September 23, 2013 // by Adeline Druart
In France and other parts of Europe, butter is cultured by adding live bacteria to cream before churning. Also, the fat content has to be a minimum of 82%. Traditionally, U.S made butter isn’t cultured and the cream goes straight to the butter churn. This is known as sweet cream butter. The U.S. regulates that the fat content for butter can be as low as 80%.
At Vermont Creamery we make cultured butter with an 86% butterfat content — this is the highest fat content you can obtain when making butter. We believe the more fat the better when it comes to butter! Higher fat means less moisture and this equals a higher smoke point when pan searing, a more tender crumb or crust for baking and much more flavor for a table butter.
There are two ways to make cultured butter:
- The first way, what we think of as the real, old fashioned way, consists of adding live bacteria to cream and allowing the cream to culture overnight. The next morning the cream has thickened and wonderful notes of buttermilk and hazelnuts have developed. The longer you culture — the better. Once the cream reaches the right acidity, it is then churned into butter. This is how we make our butter and we think it is the best.
- The second option is to take cream and directly churn it into butter. During the last step of the butter processing, a blend of cultures and “diacetyl” (hazelnut compound) flavoring is added to the butter. This makes for a faster, easier way of trying to obtain the same flavor of slow fermentation.
I like to say that cultured butter is like wine, you want to ferment your cream like your grapes, slowly, to produce the best aromas. Adding flavoring at the end can recreate some of the nuttiness and sweetness but it will never be like a true cream maturation!