Don’t Sleep On Danish Bread and Butter

complimentary bread at Fiskebaren (Copenhagen)

Prior to visiting Copenhagen, I was a French bread and butter enthusiast. It was the baguette or the boule with whatever French import I could get my hands on, like Buerre d’Isigny for example.  Of course, my allegiance to French bread and butter was due in part to flavor preference and the French bread and butter mystique. The French have undoubtedly perfected their carbohydrates and dairy products. Go onto the Chowhoud boards and Poilane purportedly makes the best bread in the world. The finest restaurants in the city import their butter from France.

So when I was in Copenhagen, I never expected to fall in love with Danish bread and Danish butter (and Danish bacon—but that’s a whole other blog). Fiskebaren in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking district served delicate earthy sourdough rye breads, a crusty boule in form but with Nordic characteristics. And the butter that came alongside: Creamy with perfect salt content and boasted a vibrant yellow hue. I was mostly impressed with the creaminess. Ok, it also came shaped like a teardrop and that was pretty dope too. Read more after the jump. Since that first meal, I’ve had many other great Danish bread and butter experiences—but in Denmark. Danish bread is virtually impossible to find here in NYC and would require some at home experiments. And the butter? The closest I’ve come is Lurpak, a Danish butter that can be found at many stores here in the US. From the website:

“Butter is made from cream. Cream is obtained by separating whole milk into cream, which contains about 35% fat, and skimmed milk, which has only 0.05% fat. Approximately 20 kg of whole milk goes into 1 kg of butter.
Upon separation, the cream is heated to 95-105 degrees C for approx. 15 seconds. This is done to ensure the destruction of undesirable micro-organisms in the cream. After pasteurisation the cream is cooled to 19 degrees C in summer and 8 degrees C in winter. The cream used in buttermaking is subjected to two different kinds of temperature treatment, depending on whether it is summer cream or winter cream. Summer cream fat is softer than winter cream fat. By means of temperature treatment the consistency of the butter can be regulated to become more uniform all year round.
Souring the cream
The cream is soured by means of a starter, which is a bacterial culture made from various strains of lactic acid bacteria. The souring of the cream provides a fresh, aromatic taste.
Churning the cream
In a continuous butter-making process the cultured cream is fed to the churning section of the butter machine, which consists of a horizontal cylinder. The cylinder is fitted with a beater rotating at about 2,700 rpm and converts the cream into butter grains and buttermilk in just a matter of seconds. The butter grains and the buttermilk then proceed to the separation section.
This section consists of a several-metre-long horizontal rotating cylinder, operating at 30 rpm. The cylinder wall is a sieve drum which drains off the buttermilk.
Working the butter
The butter grains proceed to the kneading section where they are passed through perforated plates by means of a screw conveyor. In the kneading section water and salt are added, and the butter is now ready to be conveyed to the packing machine.”

Fork and Bottle blog says this about Lurpak:
“The Danish cream is soured by use of a starter, (a bacterial culture made from various strains of lactic acid bacteria). The souring of the cream gives Lurpak a fresh lactic flavor which Joanne really likes. It’s her butter of choice – even blind.”

A Lurpak representative told me that this Danish import is an excellent choice for baking. Like sour cream, it makes whatever pastry it’s used in perfectly dense. She recommends using it for biscuits, as it will make for a nice crumb. I plan on doing this soon.


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