The Real Difference Between American and European Butter

Photo: Marrypopins

While you may not be able to taste the difference between regional butters (or maybe you can—who am I to assume anything about your butter-tasting palette), there is something that varies depending on where you're eating it.

The butter selection at grocery stores can be overwhelming, but we're here to help you distinguish the difference between two popular spreads: European and American butters.

According to The Kitchn, European butter is churned a bit longer, resulting in at least 82 percent butterfat in the final product. You'll also find added cultures in the final product, most of the time.

So, can you taste the difference? You actually probably can. European butter is often fermented, given it a tangy, slightly sour taste. These butters are often richer (more butterfat), making it ideal for baking since it melts quicker.

American butter is monitored and regulated by the USDA, which states that a butter must contain at least 80 percent butterfat to make the cut. This butter doesn't include any of the added cultures that European butter does, meaning the taste is much less flavorful.

In reality, it's much more complicated than choosing between European and American butter. In Europe, there are further breakdowns depending on where you're traveling. Each country has its own way of making it, and the taste will vary from place to place.

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