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I was recently watching a television show where a reference was made to "pastry butter". This was in the context of making croissants saying that normal butter was incorrect type to use.

After searching for some time I have been unable find any information about "pastry butter" being a specific type of butter.

Has anyone come across pastry butter and know what the difference is between this and normal butter?

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    I think that this question indirectly answers yours... I'm not certain but I'm guessing that the show is referring to what we call "European-style" butter in the US. – Catija May 11 '16 at 19:54
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    In our grocery store, we typically have "salted" and "unsalted" butter - they could be referring to unsalted butter, as you wouldn't want to add extra salt when you're making pastry. – dogwoodtree-dot-net May 12 '16 at 2:21
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    But "European style" is a good thought too - "European style" is a little fattier, a little creamier. Which is what you'd want on something like a croissant, where the butter is really the "star of the show." – dogwoodtree-dot-net May 12 '16 at 2:27
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    Land o lakes probably isn't the epitome of European Butter... I hear Kerrygold mentioned in the US a lot. That being said 12 grams out of 14 vs 11 grams out of 14 is more than you might think. That's 85.7% instead of only 78.6%. – Catija May 12 '16 at 5:40
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    Sorry it took me while to get back to this. It may be of relevance to this that it was a British show with a french chef. British standard is min 80% butterfat where as French is min 82% butterfat. This may mean that it could just have been language difference and he was referring to what other comments call "European butter" in the US – Iain May 23 '16 at 9:16
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One job as an an apprentice baker in Germany was to prepare the butter for the next day's croissants by mixing in 10% flour by weight. This was to make it more pliable and less likely to break through the dough layers.

that was our pastry butter at any rate

  • This is an interesting answer, but I don't think it was relevant in this instance. But, I will definitely be trying it out. – Iain May 26 '16 at 16:11
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It's possible that they just meant, "a butter that is suited to making pastries". That is, a firmer butter compared to other butters.

Some info here (I am not the author)

Certainly, firmness is a factor of temperature. However it’s also a factor of the butter’s fatty acid makeup, and as I wrote yesterday, that’s largely determined by the breed of the cow and the cow’s diet.

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    There are even more factors in the firmness. It's true that the cow and its diet affect the fat makeup, but the actual buttermaking process can also make the butter firmer or softer, in particular the heating and cooling of the cream. This article is pretty nice: webexhibits.org/butter/aging.html – Cascabel May 12 '16 at 21:50
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Pastry professionals use a variety of different butters for different recipes or tasks, as cakes, croissants, buttercream and gelato have different needs in terms of plasticity and melting point.

For example, a local vendor sells six different types of butter (not counting clarified), with melting point varying between 29-40 °C (84-104 °F).

Croissants specifically benefit from a butter with a slightly higher melting point (~34 °C, 94 °F) and elevated plasticity for the lamination process.

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Pastry butter has a European fat content which is normally around the 82-83% mark. They have a higher melting point than normal butter because it contains some additional harder butter fractions. It is good for making pastry as it can be used directly out of the fridge but works best when it is 4-9 C. It is not normally available through a super market.

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