Julia Child famously said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” And given that she learned to cook in France, we know that she was talking about French butter.
Julia Child introduced Americans to French cuisine and to French butter. Even though she was born over 100 years ago, American’s fascination with her and French food are still popular. In fact, both the Food Network and HBO premiered shows based on Julia Child this spring!
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to France to enjoy French butter; it’s more available than ever in the U.S. and American chefs are eager to teach you how to use it.
Visit TasteEurope.com and @Tasteeuropebutteroffrance and you’ll find a place filled recipes, tips and everything you need to know about European butter.
Pastry chef and recipe developer Alex Roberts of Alexander Bakes, based in Los Angeles, says, “I choose French butter because it’s higher in quality and flavor than American butter, which is often made with more water, giving it a pale-yellow color. French butter is cultured by way of fermented cream, which gives it a slightly tangy flavor and smell.” But it’s not just the superior quality and flavor, he explains. “The lower water content helps it stay colder longer, which means the butter is a bit dryer, making it perfect for laminating croissants or puff pastry (this is a technique often used in pastries where you fold and roll butter into dough repeatedly to create super thin layers). Also, the tanginess from cultured cream adds a bit of nuance to something like a classic chocolate chip cookie.”
French butter is the natural choice for baking French pastries. “French butter makes laminating croissants way, way, way easier. American butter melts quicker (more water!) and cracks easily when cold, making it hard to laminate with. There’s a reason that French croissants are always better!” explains Roberts.
Kristin “Baker Bettie” Hoffman, chef, baking instructor and author of Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book agrees, adding “If I am baking something that is specifically French, like croissants, then I will most definitely turn to French butter. In these instances, I will make a point to state in the ingredient list that French butter should be used for best results.”
Charles Duque of the French Dairy Board explains that French butter is superior to alternatives due to several factors. “French butter, by law, must have a higher fat content, so it is naturally richer and has a creamier taste than American butter. French butter comes from milk from grass-fed cows, which produce a more savory, nutty-tasting butter than non-grass-fed cows.” When shopping for butter he says, “Butter with the PDO label is a protected butter that signifies a production guideline regulating milk, production process, terroir and savoir-faire. If a butter has this symbol, it means they are produced following certain guidelines and using the milk from a specific region.”
Looking for ways to use French butter in your recipes? Head to www.TasteEurope.com, or @TasteEuropeButterofFrance on both Facebook and Instagram or visit tasteeurope.com/whyamericanchefsrelyoneuropenbutter