Kinds of Butter

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Butter is made in several distinct styles, each with its own particular qualities. It’s necessary to read labels carefully to learn whether a given brand has been made with plain cream, fermented cream, or cream flavored to taste like fermented cream.

Raw cream butter, whether sweet or cultured, is now nearly extinct in the United States and a rarity even in Europe. It is prized for its pure cream flavor, without the cooked-milk note due to pasteurization. The flavor is fragile; it deteriorates after about 10 days unless the butter is frozen.