EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUTTER
Did you know?
We are the world’s biggest consumers, with an average of 8 kg per capita per year.
A long history
The history of butter goes back several thousand years… Butter was used in cosmetics by the Greeks and Romans. Its thick substance was perfect for moisturising the skin of women and men alike, while olive oil was used for cooking.
In the 15th century, the French consumed a lot of butter, then called “the poor man’s fat” because it was cheap to make. The wealthier classes, on the other hand, preferred lard (white pork fat used to make rillettes, for example).
Cooking butter also appeared in the 15th century. It is used in many pastries and sauces. Butter and lard were the fats most used in Enlightenment cooking, far ahead of olive oil, with the exception of the Mediterranean basin.
The art of making churned butter!
To obtain the best butter, you first need to choose the best cream, as this is the base from which the butter is made.
At Le Gall, cream is matured for an average of 15 to 18 hours.
This maturing of the creams encourages the development of aromas and flavours and gives the butter its distinctive nutty taste.
The traditional butter method involves a maturing stage using a natural leavening agent, followed by slow churning.
In a churning drum, the matured cream is gently churned to first separate the fat from the buttermilk, then to obtain a uniform texture of the butter and soften it.
These butters are made slowly, taking 24 hours to produce with a genuinely creamy flavour.
This process is therefore very different from industrial butters. This diagram illustrates the difference between industrial butter and churned butter.
Butter through the seasons
Its characteristics vary according to the season. Colours, tastes and textures depend on the cows’ diet, which differs according to season, climate and land.
There are butters for spring, summer, autumn and winter.
In spring, it is at its best: buttercup yellow, richer in omega 3 and 6 and easier to spread. In winter, it is pale yellow and rather hard, when cows are generally fed on hay. Based in Quimper, Le Gall takes advantage of the oceanic climate of the tip of Brittany, which means that the cows can be fed on grass for a large part of the year!
Did you know?
The benefits of butter
A completely natural and authentic product
Butter and dairy products are our main source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for our bodies!
Butter is the only fat to contain vitamin A naturally. This vitamin is involved in vision and growth, contributes to resistance to infection and aggression, and helps to promote beautiful skin. Butter also contains vitamin D, which is essential for fixing calcium in the bones, but also plays a role in immunity.
No fatty acid is good or bad in itself. They all have a purpose and need to be varied. They are necessary for the functioning of the body and for maintaining good health.
A kitchen essential
Butter is part of our French gastronomic culture, and remains the essential product par excellence in the kitchen.
Butter has an excellent character: soft, creamy, firm, melting, hot or cold, it can be kneaded, moulded and help remove from moulds, melts and takes on any shape.
Butter, from ivory creamy white to golden yellow, from the wafer to the lump, gives shine and brilliance to food: it is a flavour enhancer.
Test your knowledge!
Find out all about butter, its benefits, its different varieties and manufacturing processes. How to cook and preserve it.
Everything you always wanted to know about butter but were afraid to ask is here!
Butter is the dairy product that requires the most milk to make! Producing one kilogram of butter requires 22 litres of milk. In comparison, making a Camembert requires 8 litres of milk, while producing a Cantal requires 10 litres of milk.
Whether raw, fine, extra fine, PDO, organic or churned, butter can be unsalted, semi-salted or salted. The difference between the three? Unsalted butter is obtained simply by churning fresh cream, while a precise amount of salt is added to the other two. The difference between salted and semi-salted butter lies in the dosage, but both are specialities closely linked to Breton culture. As with other dairy products, the production and marketing of butter are strictly regulated. Semi-salted butter contains between 0.5% and 3% salt. For salted butter, the rate is over 3%. Salting is done with fine salt or salt crystals to add crunch. Sometimes a local touch creeps into the recipe, for example with Guérande salt.
Before Philippe VI de Valois introduced the gabelle tax in 1342, butter was generally salted to improve its conservation. But this tax changed the game, as the French could no longer afford to use salt as a preservative. Result: they all took it out of the butter, except for the Bretons! At the time, Brittany was a Duchy virtually independent of the Kingdom of France, which meant that it did not have to pay the Gabelle tax, and could therefore use all the salt from the salt marshes.
The main difference lies in the manufacturing methods! Barrel churning is a traditional process that requires slow production. In fact, it takes 24 hours to make these butters, which have a delicious creamy flavour, unlike industrial butters. This diagram illustrates the difference between industrial butter and churned butter.
Raw butter is obtained exclusively from unpasteurised milk, which imbues it with a stronger aromatic intensity than traditional butters. These butters are richer in flavour and closer to traditional farmhouse butters. Like all raw dairy products, this butter is more fragile and does not keep as long.
Yes, butter is 100% natural! Butter is obtained exclusively from milk cream. There are no added colourings, preservatives, artificial flavourings, emulsifiers or additives.
For a product to be called ‘butter’, it must contain at least 82% fat (or 80% for salted or semi-salted versions). If the fat percentage is below this threshold, then the product can no longer be described as butter and its name must be changed, for example to ‘low-fat butter’.
Ideally, it should be kept in its original packaging and stored in a cool place, such as the fridge, away from light and air. It is preferable not to cut the wrapping paper, as this could expose the butter to the air. Refrigerated butter has a shelf life of around three weeks. If you want to extend its shelf life, we recommend wrapping it in an extra layer of aluminium foil or plastic.
Cholesterol is essential for life! It is largely synthesised by the body, but must also be provided by the diet. Regular, reasonable consumption of butter has no effect on cholesterol levels in a healthy person!
Butter releases all its flavours when served at a temperature of 16 to 18°C. That’s why we recommend you to take it out of the fridge a little while beforehand to enjoy all its fine aromas.
Butter has fewer calories than oil, contrary to what 43% of French people think. It contains 82% lipids, compared with 100% for oil. A knob of butter (10 g) provides 75 kcal compared with 90 kcal for the same amount of oil.
No! ‘Heating’ food releases aromas, flavours and colours. When heated gradually, butter retains its benefits up to 120°C. Clarified butter (i.e. with all the whey removed) can even be heated to 180°C.
Clarified butter is butter from which the milk proteins and lactose have been removed.
It has the advantage of withstanding high temperatures and can be stored for longer in the fridge. It can be used in sauces, to polish meats or to sauté meat and fish.
Here are the steps for obtaining clarified butter:
- Melt the butter over a low heat or bain-marie for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove the white foam that forms on the surface with a spoon. This foam is the casein.
- Strain the melted butter through a sieve to separate the whey, which forms a whitish layer at the bottom of the pan, from the noble part of the butter.