The Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, maker of award-winning chèvre and crème fraîche, has unveiled a superb new product, Vermont Cultured Butter. While most butter is churned from fresh (sometimes called sweet) cream, this butter is made from cultured cream (something very close to crème fraîche), giving it the deeper, slightly tangy flavor found in the best European butters. It’s also very lightly salted (1/3%, compared to average salted butter’s nearly 2%). This bit of salt doesn’t leave an obvious salty taste; rather it underscores the butter’s delicious natural taste.
In my tests, I substituted the cultured butter for my regular unsalted butter with great results. When spread on a piece of toast or melted over steamed vegetables, the cultured butter adds so much flavor and makes everything taste so much better that ordinary butter tastes bland and oily in comparison. Besides its great flavor, Vermont Cultured Butter boasts a super-high butterfat content—a whopping 86%, as compared with 80% to 82% for average butter. In cooking, this translates into thicker, more luxurious butter sauces and hollandaise and less water to evaporate when making clarified butter. For sautéing, there’s less splatter and better browning. Its drier, more elastic texture also makes for flakier, lighter pastry doughs and pie crusts. The butter is available in 8-ounce rolls (about $3.50) and 1-pound packages (about $6) at specialty stores (Dean & DeLuca, Hay Day/Sutton Place) and groceries (including Whole Foods and Wegmans) nationwide. Or call 800-884-6287 or visit www.vtbutterandcheeseco.com.