Butter: generic vs high-end brand

My gf and I share grocery purchasing responsibilities. She will not buy generic or store brands. I buy some generics (although never toilet paper or napkins).

Anyway, I always buy generic butter, which is used primarily for cooking. She commented about this the other day so I’ve set up a taste-test. Tonight I’m buying bread and an expensive butter. We have generic butter already.

The taste challenge involves me toasting two slices of bread and applying equal amounts of butter to each slice. She is then to identify which is which.

Could you do it?

Awhile ago, Plugra was on sale, and I bought it. I almost wish I didn’t, it was so delicious; ever since then, I’ve noticed a definite inferiority in the store brand I usually buy. Even when the store brand isn’t full of off flavors, it’s just bland and thin-tasting compared to the joy that is Plugra.

“European style” or cultured butters are manufactured differently than standard US “sweet cream” butter.

Of course they’re more delicious, IMHO.

What do you mean by high-end butter versus generic? If it is just a store-brand compared to a name brand mass market butter then they might even be the exact same thing just packaged differently. However, there are some high-end specialty butters that really are superior or at least noticeably different. There are some imported Irish farm butters that are great but you won’t find those in a regular supermarket and they are much more expensive than mass market name brand butter.

I’m with Left Hand of Dorkness - I can definitely tell the difference. I’ve been buying hand-rolled butter from some cooperative in Minnesota, and it’s hands-down the best butter I’ve ever tasted.

Well, I buy whatever butter is cheapest (TopValue Brand?). For high-end I’m buying whichever butter costs at least double the generic(those were the terms gf agreed to).

It looks like I might not win, based on the replies.:frowning:

Off topic, but just this week I bought Walmart brand napkins and TP. I always buy cheapo napkins, so this was no big to me, but they are superior to every cheapie napkin out there. I think they’re Bounty napkins, repacked in Great Value. They’re indestructible. Also, there is a Walmart TP that isn’t even marked as such; you have to look at the cardboard box to see which one it is. Same as Charmin, I think. Very much identical to any of the premium brands.

I do not work at Walmart, hold stock in them or otherwise paid to shill for them. I was forced by circumstance to begin shopping there and have been very pleased with their store brand. [/shame]

Why not compromise? Use the high-priced stuff for buttering bread, and the generic for cooking with other flavors; after you’ve added garlic and chicken broth and pepper, the difference won’t be as discernable, and even if she can tell, she can get her pricey butter fix when she makes toast.

The Wal-mart near me has imported Irish butter.


You might win or you might lose even worse. They don’t sell true high-end butter in most regular supermarkets. I can’t say for sure but your generic may be as good as the regular name brands.

I don’t know if you can play that in your favor however. You can tell your wife that the real issue is that she thinks she is being a snob when she is still playing in the minor leagues of butter. You are going to have to go much more rare and expensive before the difference is obvious.

We never butter toast and eat it. The butter is for cooking. Rarely she will apply it to corn on the cob, although I got her to try lime wedge and salt and she loves it (shot of tequila as a chaser!).

Insofar as there is a taste difference between “fancy block butter” and quartered commerical butter (minor, in my opinion, the bigger difference is in texture), it will ONLY be noticable when the butter is eaten more or less plain. I agree that once you’ve added garlic &cetera, all butter tastes the same.

For this exact reason, I buy “fancy” butter (whatever brand Trader Joe’s sells – Kerrygold I think?) for spreading but I still buy and use cheaper commercial butter for cooking.

So, IMHO you’re both sort of right, and both sort of wrong.

PPS - if this discussion is between storebrand and namebrand versions of commercial butter, they’re all the same as long as both are 100% butter and not some godforsaken “spread.”

For me, the most important factor is spreadability. Most butters will completely rip any bread to shreds, even thick, juicy, rich German bread. Because of that I only buy Irish butter that somehow doesn’t, and the price difference is negligible given the amount of butter you put on a piece of bread.

LOL this is so true, this could really backfire. I buy cheap butter, the only reason I’ll pay more is for convenience. I’ll buy the ones packaged in sticks if I need that form factor for some specific purpose.

Butter is one of those things that I try and buy only when it’s on sale though. It freezes well and every couple of months one brand or another is on sale cheap.

WTF is juicy bread?

Apparently you have never had freshly baked German bread.

ETA: Maybe “moist” is the better adjective here, but I don’t like the sound of that word, so there.

I will have to check out the tp. I’m not particular on most things, but we’ve been spoiled on Charmin. Never went to Walmart until I moved here, but it is now the only viable grocery store, so I’m there a LOT. (There are lots of niche markets, and I can buy just about anything made in Mexico, but the only other real marketplace is an up-priced Safeway. Same as Safeway, just different name and twice as expensive, for some reason.)

So, thanks for the TiP!

One of the reasons the high-end butters might taste better is due to higher amounts of butter fat. Most store brand US butter only has 80% butterfat and the rest is water. European butter, besides being cultured, also have a slightly higher butterfat content which could lead to a softer consistency.


Same principle for olive oil. Trader Joe’s for cooking, local fancy for other things.