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Usually when you make homemade butter, and sometimes some commercial semi-artisan butters, for example french Isigny Ste-Mère Unpasteurised, the butter has a, what I would call "creamy" texture. I realized its not what others consider creamy, but I lack a better word at the moment. Think ice-cream creamy not face-cream creamy. Seems almost like very thick cream (but also not talking about the liquid homogenized stuff sold as cream in supermarkets, but real cream you get when you let milk from a cow you just milked yourself stand and cream collects on the top). The butter has a kind-of ice-cream texture, but without the need to keep it cold, and you can cut it up with a knife and eat like pieces of some cheese and it feels tasty.

But most typical butters from the supermarket have none of that, and feel like a totally different product. Has a very oily texture, not much creaminess, and if you try to eat it like cheese it tastes almost disgusting, unpalatable. It seems more like semi-solid oil. Even higher quality butters like Irish Kerrygold which is touted as grass-fed, is very oily, actually its more oily then other commercial butters.

I also have the impression that the homemade creamy butter melts at a higher temperature then typical commercial butter, which would be already melting and not keeping its cube shape at a hot-day room temperature without aircon (~26-30°C, ~80-90°F) but the homemade butter would still stay pretty solid.

I am not talking about fake butters with vegetable oils added in, all of these butters are pure cow milk butters with 82% fat, nothing added.

What exactly in the process makes the difference in the result?

I don't think it's the pasteurization, as I've seen butter from unpasteurized milk which was also oily and not creamy, certainly much more oily then other butters I've seen. There seems to be a varying degree of oiliness vs. creaminess among various commercial and homemade butters, it's a spectrum, not a all-or-nothing thing. Some commercial butters feel less oily and more creamy then others.

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    Simplest answer would be that one butter is churned from milk while other is milk centrifuged to lower the fat content to make 0%, 1% or 3% milk and the fat is then used to make butter. – SZCZERZO KŁY Aug 4 at 7:34
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY That should be an answer – Sneftel Aug 4 at 8:55
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY I don't think any butter is churned from milk. I had made some creamy butter in a blender, and used cream purchased on a farmers market, not milk. So the input to the butter-churning is always something more fat-concentrated then milk. – yannn Aug 4 at 9:01
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    I find this question very strange. I would describe all commercial butter's texture I've had as "creamy" and not as "oily". I've had homemade butter, and the texture was much less creamy, more crystalline, a bit like coconut oil. I cannot even start imagining what qualities you are describing here with these words, and without such a definition, I doubt that there can be an answer. – rumtscho Aug 4 at 12:23
  • @rumtscho This is because when I think of the word "creamy" I imagine a thick heavy cream which collects on the top of freshly milked cow milk, so thick that it won't pour out if you turned the cup with it upside down. And when you think "creamy", you probably think of a face cream. – yannn Aug 4 at 12:29
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While I am not completely sure what texture difference you are seeing, and I would not necessarily describe store-bought butter as 'oily', I can think of a reason why the texture of homemade butter is different: air. Depending on your method, when churning butter at home, you usually incorporate some air into the butter, giving it a 'fluffier' texture. This is similar to (but less extreme than) whipped butter.

A simple test to see if this is indeed the case would be to take some store-bought butter, follow the recipe I linked to above, and see whether the result is closer to your preferred texture.

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  • I haven't done the recipe you linked, but after seeing it, I am pretty sure that is not the creaminess I am talking about. The creamy butter I am talking is not at all airy, actually its more firm and solid then the supermarket oily butter. The creamy butter I like is NOT fluffier, quite the opposite. Creamy is probably not the right word to describe it for people who are used to only seeing supermarket cream, which is completely different then real milk cream, when you milked a cow and let it stand. That cream is thick, has a texture you can almost chew through, is not soft and airy. – yannn Aug 4 at 9:36
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I will make a guess in light of the new information.

If the quality that interests you is being similar to the cream collecting on top of raw milk, then the process difference here is underchurning. Cream is just an intermediate stage between milk and butter. If you stop it earlier, your butter will be more similar to cream than if you stop it later.

The point of churning is to produce a butter with high fat content, removing the water and some of the protein and carbohydrates from the milk. If you stop it earlier than the commercial producers do, you will have more water and other stuff left inside, and the fat will still be a bit more emulsified, both because of the water present and because you won't have agitated it enough to have sufficient coalescence of the fat globules.

So, when producing butter, most cooks prefer the process to have been sufficiently to the point where they get commercial butter. It performs better than underchurned butter in baking and cooking, and many people prefer it as a spread. But if you like it not-completely-churned, then you can indeed go for butter which offers just that.

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  • I somehow doubt it's under-churned, because the Isigny Ste-Mère Unpasteurised butter (which has the creamy-cheese texture you can eat it alone) still has the same amount of fat as any other commercial butter (its 80%, but only because 2% in the butter is salt, so its actually 82% of the butter), and I've made butter from cream bought from a farmer with a mixer machine, and churned it as much as possible. I'll describe it another way: if you take a piece of butter between fingers, the typical supermarket butter feels like oil, but the homemade or Isigny butter feels like some kind of cheese. – yannn Aug 4 at 13:18
  • Regardless of whether it is the reason for the difference in texture (which I still find hard to grasp - I never had homemade butter feel like cheese on touch, I find it oilier than commercial butter), homemade butter certainly gets less churning/a lesser amount of agitation than commercial butter. – rumtscho Aug 4 at 14:22
  • do you know Kerrygold Butter? It actually feels more oily then most other commercial butters, opposite of the homemade butter. Have you ever had homemade butter which feels so good to eat by itself? Most commercial butter is unpalatable to be eaten in significant amount just by itself, not combined with other food. The homemade non-oily butter is very palatable, delicious to eat several tablespoons of, just like that, without any other food. – yannn Aug 4 at 14:50
  • I have never had a butter which I personally found palatable by itself, homemade or otherwise. I've eaten Kerrygold, and never noticed a different texture than other butters from the supermarket. I suspect that the difficulty in communication here is that there is some specific texture that is subjectively important to you and you personally enjoy, but the average person doesn't even notice. – rumtscho Aug 4 at 15:30
  • I thought of another way to describe the home-made butter texture: its like ice-cream (when its still properly cold, and not already melting), but without the need to keep it cold. I also have the impression that it melts at a much higher temperature then typical commercial butter, which would be already melting and not keeping its cube shape at a hot-day room temperature without aircon (~26-30°C, ~80-90°F) but the homemade butter would still stay pretty solid. – yannn Aug 5 at 2:41

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