Today was the 1st of the 5-day apprenticeship course at the University of Wisconsin – and my, did we taste butter. As you would I guess.

It was great to compare notes, thoughts and the odd tastings we each experienced.

There were about 15 – 20 different brands, styles and flavours of butter. Majority from the US with the exception of none other than Kerry Gold.  Salted, lightly salted, European-styled salted, and then unsalted, and pasture-raised unsalted, also goat butter, sheep butter, cow butter (of course) and the same brand who brought us cow butter (as you can see there is a pattern here), is also a menage butter (goat, sheep and cow all in one).

And then there was whipped butter (pictured) which was whipped but whiter than snow, and seriously lacking in flavour (my opinion)

The flavours were various. There was a mild fish taste (ugh!) this can happen in butter, cardboard taste (also common), oxidized (common when packaged in greaseproof paper), gritty (the salt hasn’t done its job well with the butter), and some very greasy butter with a dry aftertaste (overwork).

We pasteurised goat milk, and dairy cream (in the US they call it sweet cream which also refers to raw cream, they also call chilled water, sweet water which is used to wash out the buttermilk from the butter) and we prepared the whey cream to make….whey cream butter!

I know!

I don’t believe it’s being made in Australia, but it is popular in Wisconsin. It is the whey or watery part of the milk that remains after making cheese. There is fat in it and can be (or is) used to make butter.  I’m told it has a taste that is more prominent than standard butter. Some butter makers combine the two – dairy cream and whey cream – to make butter that is extra creamy with a stronger flavour.

Our butter tasting connoisseur was Terry Zander (pictured) who had been a licensed butter maker for 25 years, currently a butter judge, and one of the country’s most prominent butter advisers.

He did ask if we thought cultured butter was flavoured or unsalted butter? But we didn’t get the answer due to much discussion and sidetracking I think. I must follow that up as I am thinking it is flavoured.  I will let you know.