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Salted butter: a love letter from the Bretons

What has made salt butter such a success for so many years? Perhaps its unique taste, which transports you from the green and fatty meadows of Brittany to its side, particularly that of pink granite. Perhaps its composition, reminiscent of Breton butter: milk for sweetness, salt for character and nothing else! Or maybe it’s simply that salted butter remains the most beautiful love letter from the Bretons to their region. Artisanal manufacturing, local producers and tasty recipes: ready to melt with pleasure?

Published on 23 November 2023

Butter and butter money

Battered, separated, shaken… The life of Breton salt butter is far from a tranquil river. Before being pecked at on market stalls or caramelized by our producers, the region’s flagship product goes through many adventures. A real soap opera!

Episode 1: Milking the dairy cows

No butter without milk. Head for the pink udders of the black magpies (Brittany’s star cows) to find the precious raw material. Once harvested, the milk is then transported by tanker truck to the dairy.

Episode 2: Pasteurizing the lait

On-site, the milk is heated to 72°C for 15 seconds, then immediately cooled. This essential step will eliminate any bacteria that may have invaded, and help to preserve the butter better.

Episode 3: Skimming the milk

Rebonding: milk and cream are brutally divorced at the heart of a centrifuge. This is the cream that will get the butter’s guard.

Episode 4: Maturation

The cream is then beaten for over 10 hours to bring out all the butter’s aroma.

Episode 5: Churning

As the season draws to a close, the cream still needs to be stirred in a churn to better separate its fat from its buttermilk. The result is the formation of small grains of butter.

Episode 6: Kneading

This final stage removes any remaining whey and smoothes the butter to give it a beautiful texture. Add salt (or not), mold and wrap, and head for the little palates of Brittany.

The story

In the Middle Ages, butter was a widespread tax in France. Except here! And that’s thanks to Anne de Bretagne. This made salted butter a real luxury to be savored.

As for pure salt, it enabled foodstuffs such as meat, fish and cheese to be preserved more effectively. The fridge of the time, without the bill that goes with it!

Our 5 salted butter products to shop

Caramel, caramel, caramel. So yes, but not only that. Breton salted butter is a bit like Mediterranean olive oil: the comma of an entire gastronomy. In our region, you’ll find beurre au sel just about everywhere, from appetizers to desserts, from digestifs to ice creams. Ready, set, go!

Salted butter. In the nude!

Almost. Spread on bread, placed on its bed of radishes, as an accompaniment to seafood, or even with cheese, we appreciate it molded with fleur de sel. This is by far the best way to appreciate its aromas. Simple, effective and tasty.

Gourmand butter

Salt isn’t the only thing that does butter proud! With seaweed for originality, Espelette pepper for a spicy Pays Basque-Bretagne or truffles to surprise your guests: place for creativity.

Salted butter caramel

Visiting the Côte de Granit Rose without lining your palate with salted butter caramel? Criminal. Before you go to prison, let yourself be tempted by the 1001 variations of caramel: in crepes, creams, coulis, yoghurts, ice creams, liqueurs, cakes, chocolates, seagull eggs… If you can imagine it, it exists in salted butter.

The kouign-amann

Amann meaning “butter” and kouign meaning “cake”, we’ll let you guess the recipe for this chewy pastry nugget. Diet? What diet?

Le palet breton

Reputed for its nutritional richness (to keep it polite) and preservability, the palet au beurre salé once accompanied the Breton marshes out to sea. Now it’s the children’s snack, and the parents’ tea-time companion.

Le far breton

Salted butter, eggs, milk, flour and a handful of prunes: that’s all you need to enjoy this gourmet flan 100% breizh, 100% pleasure.

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Sweet butter, semi-salted butter and salted butter: what’s the difference?

Like sweet, semi-dry or brut cider, it’s all a question of dosage. And preference! Here’s sugar, there’s salt:

Sweet butter: no salt
Half-salted butter: between 0.5% and 3% salt
Salted butter: more than 3% salt

Tasty to know:Sweet butter made in France is very often associated with Normandy, while salted butter traditionally goes back to the Bretons. Two churns, two atmospheres!

Where to buy salted butter specialties on the Pink Granite Coast?

From the doorsteps of Breton stores and cookie factories, the sweet smell of salted butter specialties invites taste buds to discover sweet and savory flavors “made in Breizh.”

You can buy locally-produced salted butter directly from our weekly markets and organic farm markets

At the table! Today’s recipe

For an inratable salted butter caramel

The ingredients:

  • 160g sugar
  • 80g semi-salted butter
  • 20cl liquid cream

We’re off to the kitchen!

➡️ Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium heat to obtain a dry caramel. The sugar will start to dissolve, become liquid and then turn into an amber liquid.

➡️ Meanwhile, heat the liquid cream in another saucepan and set aside.

➡️ As soon as the sugar has turned to caramel, remove the saucepan from the heat and add a small portion of the cream. Stir briskly and incorporate the rest a little at a time.

➡️ When there’s no more broth, add the butter and stir again until you get the consistency of a medium-liquid cream.

💡 Your cream isn’t thick enough? Return the pan to a low heat and stir until you reach the desired consistency.

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