“The farmer needs to instil a very peaceful atmosphere because it’s important if the cows are to produce good quality milk. The less stressed the cows, the better the milk,” said Fabrice Beillevaire, an export manager with the company and the son of the firm’s founders, Claudine and Pascal Beillevaire. Beillevaire’s butter is produced from raw (unpasteurised) milk, which tends to give a stronger taste than pasteurised milk. In another nod to tradition, Beillevaire is thought to be the only butter producer in France combining unpasteurised milk with the use of wooden churns in the production process. The milk is first separated out into skimmed milk (which is turned into fromage blanc or white cheese) and cream, with the latter going through a two-day maturation process at Beillevaire’s facility near Machecoul, a town not far from France’s Atlantic coast. During the maturation process the cream thickens and becomes more acidic before being transferred to a wooden churn. Made in Sweden and dating back about a century, the churn is rotated for about 45 minutes, a process that bursts the fat globules and causes them to coagulate into “grains” of butter. As well as these grains, a white liquid called buttermilk is formed.
Here are some pointers on using butter when cooking at home • Melted butter makes a fine substitute for oil in salad dressing. It is especially good with steamed vegetables. • Very cold butter can be grated into a pie crust or crumble. • If butter has taken in the smells of a refrigerator, soak it in an ice bath and then leave it to dry. • A piece of carrot stuck into rancid butter will absorb the bad taste. • To quickly make butter spreadable, cut it into pieces, wrap it in a wet cloth and knead it for several seconds. • Caramelising fruits and gratin is easier if unsalted butter is used. • When making sauces, incorporate the butter while whisking off the heat.
66 BBC Good Food Middle East June 2018