Daily Mail

Spread the word — it’s Britain’s first but­ter bou­tique

- By Rose Prince Food · Dairy products · United Kingdom · North Yorkshire · Malton · Isle of Wight · Butter · Castle Howard · Heston Blumenthal

THIS has been a won­der­ful fort­night for but­ter lovers. First, a group of em­i­nent sci­en­tists turned 50 years of nu­tri­tional dogma on its head, re­leas­ing a re­port pub­lished by an obe­sity char­ity claim­ing but­ter and other sat­u­rated fats are not bad for our health, but can ac­tu­ally pro­tect our hearts.

Yes! We but­ter eaters have been cel­e­brat­ing for days, spread­ing it thickly on bread and scone, toast and crum­pet, with the be­lated en­dorse­ment of health ‘ex­perts’.

No as­para­gus spear has gone un­dressed — life, surely, could not pos­si­bly get bet­ter than this sub­lime and heady mo­ment. But it did.

Just over a week ago, by co­in­ci­dence and in a sub­lime mo­ment of serendip­ity, a shop opened on a North York­shire High Street sell­ing just one food: but­ter; 100 per cent, full cream, (I think we can say) heart-start­ing but­ter.

In But­terBees of Mal­ton, there’s not a ri­val spread in sight. There is noth­ing branded low­fat, let alone zero per cent fat. The only item on sale that’s spread­able is the shop’s own home­made, un­com­pro­mis­ingly smooth, golden yel­low but­ter.

For sci­en­tists and med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers who for years have ad­vised avoid­ing a diet high in sat­u­rated fat, these re­cent days must seem like anar­chy.

For the in­dus­try that has be­come some­what ro­tund on sales of low-fat foods over the years, but­ter’s come­back must be a to­tal night­mare.

There has been a small-scale but de­ter­mined resur­gence of tra­di­tional but­ter-mak­ing in Britain. But no one un­til now has opened a but­ter par­lour sell­ing noth­ing but but­ter.

Lucy and Steve Bri­den-Kenny left their jobs in March af­ter spot­ting a gap in the mar­ket for ar­ti­san but­ter.

‘We en­joy vis­it­ing lo­cal delis and farm­ers’ markets and we’d seen that there are lots of bak­ers mak­ing ar­ti­san breads,’ says Lucy. ‘We thought we should make some­thing to go along­side these tra­di­tional breads. There were plenty of jam-mak­ers al­ready, so we thought why not but­ter?’ The cou­ple set about re­search­ing how to churn but­ter, trawl­ing the in­ter­net and read­ing old books.

‘We found plenty of sci­en­tific re­search into mak­ing but­ter, but we wanted to find out how it was made in the past,’ says Lucy, who used to work for a law firm. ‘We looked at all sorts of churns, in­clud­ing ones at­tached to a rock­ing chair that made but­ter as you rocked back­wards and for­wards.’

The but­ter-mak­ing process in­volves agitating full-fat cream — shak­ing or stir­ring it in a con­tainer un­til the fat, or but­ter­fat, in the cream sep­a­rates from the but­ter­milk, , or wa­ter con­tent. That but­ter­milk is drained d off, leav­ing be­hind the but­ter. This sounds sim­ple, but there is an art to mak­ing but­ter, and the Bri­denKen­nys had much to learn.

‘Our first at­tempt in­volved a bowl and a whisk,’ says Lucy.

The cou­ple then bought a small four-litre elec­tric but­ter churn. They packed the re­sults into their car and drove around hop­ing to sell to nearby farm shops. ‘By the time we got home, there was al­ready an or­der on our an­swer­phone from Cas­tle Howard’s farm shop,’ says Lucy, talk­ing of the stately home used as a lo­ca­tion for the 1981 TV se­ries Brideshead Re­vis­ited.

De­mand was so high from shops, chefs and ho­tels that they were soon able to leave their jobs. ‘Two weeks af­ter that first car jour­ney we were able to cover our pre­vi­ous jobs’ wages.’

Then, af­ter more re­search, they took a tech­no­log­i­cal back­wards step and de­cided their but­ter should be churned by hand.

Lucy’s fa­ther Colin Bri­den cre­ated a stain­less steel ver­sion of a tra­di­tional wooden bar­rel churn that can take 20 litres of cream (mak­ing ten litres of but­ter). The churn will be in­stalled in the shop in Mal­ton so cus­tomers can see but­ter be­ing made in front of them.

‘We dis­cov­ered the slower you make but­ter, the smoother it is, the deeper the yel­low colour

The deeper the yel­low, the bet­ter the taste Lovely cream is thrown away by some dairies

and Lucy. buy­ing fam­ily the They crea­mat bet­ter make Acorn­from the but­terthe taste,’ Farm, Twed­dledaily, says an or­gan­ic­shire Dales. dairy farm in the York

ap­proachedMa­ny lo­cal were farms tied they into con­tracts with large dairies and were not per­mit­ted to sell their cream. ‘In­stead, they pay to have it col­lected — as waste,’ says Lucy.

The se­cret of good but­ter, aside from slow churn­ing, is fresh milk from healthy dairy cat­tle that can graze the best pas­ture for most of the year. Once the fat has been sep­a­rated from the but­ter­milk (which they sell to the Blue­bird Bak­ery in Mal­ton to make scones), the fat solids are ‘washed’ by knead­ing in iced wa­ter to re­move im­pu­ri­ties.

Next, part of the batch is saltedand add2 make ‘Sun­day But­terBeesper tex­ture. crunchy­cent with pure Roast’fine salt, un­salt­ed­w­hole salt­ed­sea but but­ter­salt crys­tals,they but­ter crys­tals but­ter; with­also to is rose­mary de­li­cious­pikelets and for honey crum­pets.bast­ing but­ter­beef; and for a bought ‘Peo­ple mar­garinetell us they’ve be­cause never they be­lieve it is bad for them,’ says Lucy. ‘Since the re­port, the good­ness of but­ter is a big topic of con­ver­sa­tion in our shop. Peo­ple feel they have been given per­mis­sion to en­joy it. I be­lieve it is so much more nat­u­ral. It’s a whole food — our un­salted but­ter has only one in­gre­di­ent: the cream it is made from.’ Lucy and Steve are one of a few new tra­di­tional but­ter-mak­ers in Britain. For ex­am­ple, there’s the Swedish duo Pa­trik Jo­hans­son and Maria Hakans­son of But­ter Vik­ingsV on the Isle of Wight, who make a soured cream but­ter used by He­ston Blu­men­thal’s FatF Duck restau­rant. The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of but­ter has so far been slow, with a grad­ual ac­knowl­edge­ment that its ben­e­fits are many (though, like ev­ery­thing, it should be e eaten in mod­er­a­tion).

But the re­port by obe­sity a aware­ness char­i­ties the Na­tional Obe­sity Fo­rum and the Pub­lic Health Col­lab­o­ra­tion will only con­firm what en­thu­si­as­tic but­ter- eaters have long be­lieved: the most harm­ful things in our diet are su­gar a and car­bo­hy­drates.

As for me, a pro­fes­sional cook, I am lov­ing this new era of nu­tri­tional com­mon sense. I know I can’t eat but­ter all day long, but I shall be en­joy­ing but­tery treats with­out guilt.

What is more, the but­ters made by the Bri­den-Ken­nys and other sim­i­lar pro­duc­ers mean those mo­ments of melt­ing bliss can be en­joyed in a sim­i­lar way to a sip of fine wine.

I’ll raise a hot but­tered scone to that.

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 ??  ?? Nice lit­tle churner: Lucy and Steve with their prod­ucts
Nice lit­tle churner: Lucy and Steve with their prod­ucts

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