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cooking with different butters

americaninoz's picture

I recently moved to Australia from the US, and have found the butters here to be quite different in flavor and impact on recipes. My tried-and-true almond toffee that I make every Christmas has not worked here -- all five batches I tried separated and burned before reaching the hard crack stage. I used unsalted butter, salted butter, "European-style" butter, nothing worked. Cookies and cakes seem greasier, and even just buttering the kids' pasta is... there's no other word... GREASY. As the butter melts in the bottom of the drained pasta pot, it has large bubbles in it (could be leftover water, but I never noticed that in the US). It's all part of the great adventure in relocating, and I'm learning to work with the differences, but was curious if anyone has had similar experiences or could offer advice on how to compensate for whatever the differences may be... moisture content, fat level...? It's a great curiosity to me and would love to hear other's thoughts. Thanks!

Syrah's picture

Where have you moved to? (post #68931, reply #1 of 6)

Where have you moved to? Which brands in particular have you tried?

That's interesting. I've made American recipes for toffee that have worked perfectly fine with our butter, using the candy thermometer anyway. Although maybe my version of perfectly fine isn't the result you were looking for? I have never had any success with the whole testing a bit in a glass of water malarky. Far too annoying for me.

I tend to use generic butter from Coles and also Aldi (80% fat is what the label says), depending on where I've shopped. Both are as good as each other as far as my experience goes. I'm not familiar with the % fat that American butter has, perhaps someone else can check?

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Ozark's picture

Most everyday butters here (post #68931, reply #2 of 6)

Most everyday butters here are 80%. Plugra, a european style runs 86% but expensive.
Wondering if anyone uses this product. I believe in Europe this is called "concentrated butter" and runs 96& or better.

What is Plugrá Clarified Butter?
Plugrá clarified butter is the pure golden liquid remaining when butter is melted and the water and milk solids are removed. Because the milk solids have been removed, Plugrá clarified butter has a higher smoke point versus average table butter and therefore may be used to cook at higher temperatures as with searing and sautéing. The absence of water means no splattering in the frying pan. Additionally, the lack of milk solids allows clarified butter to be stored without refrigeration for up to six months.


Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

Pielove's picture

"Most everyday butters here (post #68931, reply #3 of 6)

"Most everyday butters here are 80%."

I have Kerrygold Irish Butter and Kirkland butter (Costco store brand) in my freezer. Both are 11g fat per 14g serving, which is approximately 80%, so you are right on.

No help with the toffee though-- 5 batches down, too bad. Good luck!


ashleyd's picture

Concentrated butter is (post #68931, reply #6 of 6)

Concentrated butter is clarified butter, very similar to ghee, from which all the solids have been removed and is likely to be around 99% butterfat. I have used it in the past because it has a higher smoke point than butter and is better for frying/sauteing. Not as common now as most people who wanted it for this purpose now use ghee which is much more available than it used to be.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Gretchen's picture

I have sometimes had the (post #68931, reply #4 of 6)

I have sometimes had the butter in toffee separate, even in the US. If yours burned, I might suggest checking the calibration on your thermometer. I have also seen "hard crack" as 304* and 310*. I use the lower.
Mine usually separated when I spread the toffee out. I just took a paper towel and wiped off the butter. The toffee was fine.
Good luck in OZ.

jaq's picture

Have you changed elevation (post #68931, reply #5 of 6)

Have you changed elevation significantly? I'm in Colorado, and it can make a difference.