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I am in America, recently I noticed in my grocery store in the last year or two that there is a type of butter called "European Butter".

Is "European Butter" really different from regular butter, yes/no?

If yes, what is the difference between regular butter and "European" butter?

p.s. I thought there was only one way to make butter. So... is there such a thing as "European Butter" or is "European Butter" just made with different type of cow milk (i.e. a more organic... more grass fed.... less processed type of milk... maybe less homogenized)?

  • I don't know about "European butter", but cultured butter (made by the same process, but starting from cultured milk) as opposed to fresh butter may be one distinction... and I think it's more commonly found in Europe than America, due to historical usage. – Megha Sep 24 '17 at 3:18
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Most butter in the US is sweet cream butter, meaning that the cream is not cultured before it is churned. European style butter is cultured by adding bacteria to the cream and giving it time to thicken and acidify before churning. This results in subtle flavor changes. European style butter also has a slightly higher fat content.

FWIW, imported and domestic cultured butter is becoming pretty common on US shelves. Expect to pay considerably more for it.

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European style butter contains more fat (and thus less water) than american style butter. European butters tend to be 83-86% fat as apposed to american butter which is around 81% fat. This makes european butter ideal for applications such as croissants and other delicate flaky pastries.

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    Does 2-5% extra fat really make that much difference? – RonJohn Sep 24 '17 at 14:26
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    Yes. The amount of fat impacts gluten development by blocking the proteins from bonding. It really draws the line between dense squat pastries and flaky ones. – A Gold Man Sep 24 '17 at 14:31

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