Have you ever tried spreading cultured butter on your morning toast? If not, then it’s high time you do so! This cultured brother of the regular churned butter has a nice tangy flavour and creamier texture. Read on and learn more about the producers of this dairy wonder and how you can enjoy it at home.
Cultured butter vs regular butter
Butter is an all-important cooking and baking ingredient derived from cream. Cream contains fats and liquids that can be separated through churning. The fat collected from the process is then used to make butter, while the liquid part (buttermilk) is drained off. However, letting the cream ferment with live bacteria before churning creates a tangy version called cultured butter. Fermentation of butter also increases its milk fat content, resulting in a creamier texture.
Monica Cavarsan, founder and butter maiden of Victoria-based Lard Ass, said, “There’s butter. Then there’s cultured butter. Cultured butter is creamy, more buttery in flavour, and has a high melting point than ordinary butter. And so it stays longer on your hot toast and you get to enjoy biting into the butter to enjoy the flavour. This is one of the great enjoyments of fresh, cultured butter.”
Many of the unique attributes of cultured butter are brought about by the formation of lactic acid. As the added live bacteria feed on the sugars in cream, lactic acid is formed as a by-product. This creates the noticeable tanginess in cultured butter. Bacteria also break down lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein) in cream that are difficult to digest, making cultured butter friendlier to the tummy.
|Regular Butter||Cultured Butter|
|Made of cream||Made of cream and live bacteria|
|Buttery flavour with a creamy mouthfeel||Tangy flavour with a creamier texture|
|Contains milk fat, water, and milk solids||Contains more milk fat|
|Good source of sugar, protein, and fat||Good source of fat and broken down sugars and protein|
Cooking with cultured butter
Anything with butter is good! And, as eagerly described by Monica, “Cultured butter can do everything your standard butter can do, but can do it even better.” It is great on its own and a perfect match with a thick slice of your favourite crusty bread. Its creaminess also gives your baked goods a more tender crumb or crust. Moreover, the higher fat content of cultured butter increases its smoke point. This prevents the butter from burning too quickly when you use it for sauteing and pan-searing.
Here are a few dishes you can take to a new level with cultured butter:
- Baked crust
Add that little extra to your usual cheesecake base or savoury pie crust by replacing your regular butter in the recipe with cultured butter.
Finishing your baked potato with tangy cultured butter on top is such a good way to add flavour to this comfort food, you could even do without the cheese.
Cook your roux with cultured butter and make the best bechamel or gravy your guests have ever tasted. You can add this butter, too, at the end to make your demi-glace shine.
Try topping your perfectly cooked steaks with a cube (or two!) of cultured butter to keep the meat moist and flavourful.
- Vegetables and mushrooms
For that appetising, glossy finish, saute your carrots, green beans, and button mushrooms in cultured butter. Its natural sourness definitely will come in handy in case you forgot to stock up on fresh lemons.
Cultured butter producers
Now that we know how good cultured butter is and what delicious things we can make using it, it will be good to learn where we can get it. Also, can we make it at home?
Lard Ass will gladly satisfy your cultured butter needs. Founded by Monica, Lard Ass takes pride in its Italian roots and their love for homegrown food. Her secrets to a delicious bar of handcrafted cultured butter: ripened cream from grass-fed cows, European imported cultures, and single-batch churning. And of course, lots of love!
Catch Lard Ass at our Market Day at Kitchen Warehouse Preston on September 9th. Learn more here.
Images provided by Monica Cavarsan, owner and founder of Lard Ass (www.lardass.com.au).