Beautiful Butter

Joined Dec 30, 2015
God obviously took his time when he created fresh and fragrant, sweet butter. Yum.

Given that European standards for butter are superior to American (higher fat % ; resistance to hormone use, etc.) for years I have cooked only with sweet European style butters. I love Irish butter (Kerrigold - even though it has a tiny bit of salt) for savory and some sweet applications and French (Plugra) for most sweets. Hubby and I also make unsalted butter and rinse and squeeze, and rinse and squeeze until the liquid is clear. I have no clue what the fat percent or water content is on our butter, and it likely varies from batch to batch. But it tastes fine.

It recently occurred to me that for years, I have not been properly following American recipes standards in using my beloved European butters! For every application I can think of, from spreading warm butter on freshly baked bread, to buttercream frosting, to cake and custard, etc. I love Euro butter. For Baklava and some other uses, I clarify the Euro butters first. But otherwise use it 'as is' for all my desserts.

I made an Italian buttercream a short while ago with a quality American butter. It was good. But, I still prefer European. I think. It is possible that my bias was operating since my little test was hardly a side-by-side, blind taste comparison.

I also substitute butter when a recipe calls for oil or shortening. I know oil tenderizes the crumb and shortening creates a flakier pie crust, but I hate the oily mouth feel and flavor (or lack thereof). Contrary to what I've heard some cooks say, I disagree that butter competes with other ingredients. Personal preference I guess.

So, here comes the question to you guys who are far more educated and experienced than self-taught me. What actually am I doing by subbing European butters in American dessert recipes? Yes, I am very happy with the outcome, but sometimes wonder if the recipes are supposed to be adjusted - perhaps a tad more liquid here, a tad less fat there, etc.?

Maybe none of this matters, and maybe it does. You guys are amazing, and I would absolutely love to hear your take!
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Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
For a cookie, European butter will spread a little bit less since it has lower water content. so you might need to make a cookie a little thinner it or spread it out a little bit initially to get the right size when cooked. That will vary somewhat by recipe probably too.

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