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Going old-school to churn craft butter



It’s true when they say you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted freshly made butter. Although it might sound like a lot of labour, the good news is restaurants in the city are churning out fresh, rich and creamy spreads that are so full of flavour that you will never want to go back to store-bought butter.

“Craft butter is essentially manipulating milk solids and milk fat into something far more flavourful than the traditional packaged butter available in the market,” says Byculla restaurant Goyaa’s Chef and owner Siddharth Somaiya. The diner makes vadouvan butter where a kilo of butter is slow-cooked with orange peel and 14 different spices like fennel, cumin, turmeric, mace, ginger and chili flakes for three hours till it turns a beautiful nutty brown. This butter is served in-house along with sourdough bread and is also used to roast cauliflower florets.

Chef Sunny Punjabi at Dhishkiyaaon uses Kashmiri chilli for flavour. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Churn it well
Rishim Sachdeva, head chef, Olive Bar and Kitchen, Bandra, believes making butter is reasonably straight forward as long as you have good quality ingredients and can control the temperature. He uses cultured cream for the butter and a bit of homemade bread miso (made from koji rice and stale bread) to add saltiness. “Incorporating these flavours lives up to our vision of clean and healthy eating. Making our own butter allows us to control the flavours and be creative with basics,” explains Sachdeva, who ensures fresh butter is churned every day at the restaurant.

Dishkiyaoon, BKC, too, makes their own makkhan (butter) with heavy cream and later strong flavours of Kashmiri chilli is infused with it. “Homemade butter gives richness and improvises the flavours of the dishes. It’s great for presentation too. We use it to soften up the preparations of chicken and lamb as well as for garnish,” says sous chef Chef Sunny Punjabi.

Not an easy craft
“Craft butter has to be monitored constantly. If the heat is too high even for a minute it will burn the butter and turn black and you will have to start all over,” says Somaiya. In fact, Kelvin Cheung, corporate chef and F&B director, Aallia Hospitality says they stopped churning butter in-house at Bastian, Bandra, a year ago due to the inconsistencies in the dairy available locally. “While I love using organic local milk brands, even the highest quality brands unfortunately do not have a consistent fat percentage which makes making butter a challenge.”

Flavouring it right
Bastian now makes flavoured butter in house, though. “We currently use Presidents butter and introduce flavour in multiple stages depending on what dish the flavoured butter will be used for. Some require a simple mix while others require smoking the flavour in or using the sous vide technique,” adds Cheung. They use the smoked honey truffle butter for gluten-free red hot chicken and waffles on the brunch menu, and kimchi butter for dishes requiring a more pungent component.

At O Pedro, executive chef Hussain Shahzad says the sourdough poee is best enjoyed with butter that has Portuguese-inspired flavours like choriz butter (rendered choriz fat, Goan vinegar and choriz bits) and kalchi kodi butter (coconut milk, kokum, red chillies, coriander, and garlic). In the method, the flavouring ingredients are first prepared and fully seasoned, and then cooled down. The salted butter is whipped till soft and then the flavourings are whisked in. If you are concerned about its shelf life, the flavoured butter when uncontaminated will last for weeks in the fridge. “We’ve never had to push it past a week as we make ours in fresh small batches every week. It is extra work, but totally worth it,” says Cheung.

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