As Julia Child said:oil never hurtsThe chef responsible for popularizing French cuisine in the United States has never hidden his passion for butter, just like us. It pairs perfectly with breakfast bread and is the “secret” ingredient of 10 out of 10 French chefs.
Such importance deserves attention when choosing a tablet. Consequently taste decided test some of the most popular brands in the marketsto help you choose the food to spread on your bread (or make a pie, make a croissant, make a sauce, fry a steak, the possibilities are endless).
For this mission, we invited a team of strong judges, consisting of five experts (see below), who blind tasted 11 samples of unsalted butter of various origins, both domestic and imported. We chose this version because they are cleaner. “Salt can be used to mask some imperfections,” explains farmer and dairy specialist Ricardo Bonilla.
Each juror received a box of unidentified portions of these oils at home; identified only by numbers. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire and comment on the aroma, taste, texture, and any sensations that the oil evokes.
Below you can see how the most popular brands ranked, from “never again” to the most delicious. But keep in mind: good butter should be creamy, tender and milky. Rancidity and excess acidity are signs of old oil or low-quality raw materials. Its texture should be buttery, never crumbly.
Whipped cream first turns into whipped cream and then into butter. That’s right, if you forget fresh cream in the mixer, it won’t go bad, it will turn into butter.
Simple, but not simplistic. Butter is a combination of two opposites, water and fat, found in milk cream, which, when shaken vigorously, combine to form this golden ingot, according to scientist Harold McGee in Cuisine and food“The formation of butter is an everyday miracle, an occasion for admiration and delight… It becomes that golden treasure that gives a warm and sweet richness to many dishes.”
cream of cream
There are several types of butter, each with its own characteristics and qualities, and it can vary in terms of flavor, fat content, and even texture, depending on your country of origin.
Generally speaking, European butter (especially French butter) has a richer flavor due to the high percentage of fat – the minimum requirement is that butter be at least 85% in most European countries.
On the other hand, products made in Brazil, in turn, must have a fat content of at least 80%, according to the regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture. These oils, however, have a relatively more neutral taste than oils from the old continent. It may not seem like a big difference, but a few percentage points go a long way when it comes to taste.
The breed and diet of animals also directly affect the characteristics of the oil. “Butter from different types of cows tastes differently, just as the animal’s diet also affects the color and flavor of the product,” Alan Davidson explains in his paper. The Oxford Companion to Food.
For example, milk from grass-fed animals typically contains more beta-carotene than milk from grass-fed cows, which is why some oils are more yellow than others. However, some brands use dyes, such as annatto, to simulate color, which is allowed here, it is enough to indicate on the package.
“The difference here is not so much in the quality of the oil, but in the characteristics that the manufacturer wants to enhance in the final product,” explains Rosana from Fazenda Atalaia, which produces in addition to the award-winning Tulha oil. cheese, fresh butter in Sao Paulo interior.
Whether the butter is more yellow or more acidic, the secret to a good butter is to start with a good cream (cream), as Bonilla explains, before national oill, an artisanal butter brand responsible for supplying the city’s important restaurants and bakeries. “Butter is basically cream and it can’t be improved after it leaves the cow, it can be masked with additives, but you can’t get good butter without good cream,” he explains.
Although the industrial process for making butter is relatively similar to artisanal, it is access to such cream that reduces the quality of most butter we find on the market – in addition to being expensive, they are also rare. “Getting good cream is the biggest challenge for a buttermaker,” says Bonilla.
A recent and fundamental change in the oil-making process, especially since the start of industrial production, concerns fermentation.
In the past, and even today in artisanal industries, butter was fermented, since the process of separating the cream took time, and with it bacteria. However, the industry often uses standardized cream in addition to processes that speed up milk separation. Thus, the resulting product is a fresh oil, but less complex in taste and texture.
The impact of industrial production is such that Brazilians seem to be accustomed to oils with low acidity and a more neutral taste. However, acidity is neither a negative characteristic nor a sign of low sanitary standards. In Europe, first of all, it is customary to leave the oil to ferment to develop flavor and acidity, which is what many producers and consumers want. This is reflected in the rating itself, despite the experience of the judges, the most fragrant butters gave way to the freshest and most neutral ones. Check it out below.
(R$14.99; 200g in Pão de Açúcar)
Douradinha, which is already eye-catching! It has a mild flavor but with personality. It is slightly sour, which pleased the judges, with a fruity aftertaste and an almond aftertaste. Creamy bread when served slightly chilled, it won a lot of points in this respect. It has everything you would expect from unsalted butter. The proven version of the French brand is actually made in Brazil.
(R$11.29; 200g in Mambo)
With a fresh aroma, milky taste and smooth fat, tasty and slightly sweet – has a milky “sweetness”, has a firm and creamy texture, was highly appreciated.
3rd Paysan Breton
(R$11.99; 200g in Natural da Terra)
With a stronger character, French butter is buttery, doesn’t break down (a great sign of fat), has a subtle milky flavor, and has been noted by some judges as “fresh” with a nice slight sour finish. Nearly tied with the runner-up.
(R$13.99; 200g, in Pão de Açúcar)
Flawless, described as a proper, standard oil, in a good way. It has flavor, with a slight almond flavor at the end, and the taste is accurate – no big ups or downs. It lost a few points due to the somewhat “crumbly” texture.
(R$13.99; 200g, in Pão de Açúcar)
Clean and smooth aroma, pleasant, milky and slightly herbal taste. Proper oil, but with some timidity in the mouth. The texture is smooth and uniform, there is some fat, but crumbles more than expected when passing through the bread, could have been more creamy.
(10.99 reais; 200 g, in Mambo)
Inconspicuous taste, neutral aroma, light milky memory in the mouth, but very discreet in the end. It is homogeneous, but not greasy, brittle even at room temperature. More suitable for cooking than for spreading on bread.
(R$13.99; 200g in Natural da Terra)
No big qualities, but no big flaws either. Acceptable texture, neutral taste. Not impressed, but not disappointed either.
(36.40 reais; 500 g, at Casa Santa Luzia)
Very yellow, stronger than the rest, it already reveals more personality than the rest of the samples, which not all the judges liked. Intense, more rustic, it also has a strong milky taste and acidity. Some of the jurors preferred to spread the bread. Remember pastures, which can be good or bad, depending on expectations.
(10.90 reais; 200 g, in Saint Marche)
A strong aroma gives out a rancid product, but in the mouth it is neutral. All judges noted texture defects: very brittle and porous; no fat content and more uniform fat. Wrong oil.
(18.50 reais; 200 g, at Casa Santa Luzia)
The Italian brand disappointed the judges: dry look, metallic taste, rancid and artificial. The texture was described as fibrous, almost grainy, “the least creamy of the lot,” wrote one.
11th Jersey Itu
(47.29 reais; 500 g, in Kitanda)
With a very strong yellow tint, the oil produced at Fazenda Limeira, in Itu, in the hinterland of SP, was the most artisanal on the panel – perhaps for this reason it surprised the judges. Less standard, with a strong, stable-like flavor, it has a very strong, milky taste, with a lot of fat, and reminds me of a bush. A matter of custom.
The baker, who grows her own wheat to make her bread, takes very seriously not only the quality and taste of the bread she sells in her shop in Vila Beatriz, but every single ingredient that makes it up. For this and others, she was a jury member of this panel. “I evaluated each of the oils, thinking about their use in my kitchen, especially croissant recipes.” In one morning, there were 11 loaves of bread on the plate to mimic the taste of fried butter.
Professor of the Vilma Kövesi Culinary School and consultant of the Casa Santa Luzia shopping center in São Paulo participated in the 2015 edition of this oil panel. Siffert felt that the oils lacked personality and felt that “70% of the samples were very similar”.
Francisco Lobello, @brividosp
The Cheese Master is responsible for Brivido’s controversial ricotta, as well as the yoghurts and fresh curds of an artisan cheese brand located in Jacarei, in the SP interior. When tasting, he favored oils with a stronger personality and a stronger taste.
Luis Filipe Sousa, @luizfilipe
At the helm of renowned award-winning Italian restaurant Evvai, the chef is one of the most technical and creative in the city and usually churns different flavors of butter from scratch at home, playing with its nuances, whether accompanying couvert bread, or composing dishes .
The chef was trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and lived and worked in the city. Returning to Brazil, he ran Le Chef Rouge for several years. She was the chef at Le Cordon Bleu in São Paulo and currently works as a consultant. Such baggage manifested itself in assessments and assessments.