Is there any more of that bread and butter?


Butter has a special place in my life.  When I say special I mean everyday and on everything.  The Danish term ‘tandsmør‘, meaning ‘toothbutter’ means you’ve spread your butter thick enough to leave a perfect indent of your teeth behind. Tandsmør has become something of a personal mantra. This is important.

In a past life, I and a merry band of rotating guests were extremely fortunate to be fed by chef Craig Grozier of Fallachan dining at the occasional ‘Botanist Academy’ dinner on Islay. Needless to say, I was introduced to some of the most exciting and memorable dishes I have had in all my puff.  From Scottish Thai broth to hand-dived scallop ceviche and aerated lemon balm chocolate…the delicious list goes on.

Unfortunately for Craig, the words ringing around after the first 10 minutes of every meal was ‘Is there any more of that bread and butter?’.  Seeing the blood rise in Craig’s face was something of amusement to me but secretly I have been asking the same question everyday since.

The Botanist Gin Islay smoked whipped butter

The one thing that was most memorable of Craigs butter recipe was that it was smooth, light and easily spread thickly – remember tandsmør .

The bread and butter in question was a sourdough made from Octomore malted barley generously loaded with butter smoked with wood from old whisky casks. Yes, that’s right smoked butter on smoky bread. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. But how to repeat?

Well, I’ve made butter before but how to begin smoking it? I don’t know what a chef’s way of doing things might be but I began with the cream. Handily, (yet not surprisingly), my father has a smoker of sorts comprising two metal cooking trays, a small rack and a camping stove. He also has a good supplier of ex-bourbon cask oak shavings and sawdust. You could try a metal biscuit tin with holes in on your stove top and enjoy the smoky aromas in your kitchen for days…

So – to making the butter. Putting about about 600ml of double cream in a shallow metal tray I placed it inside the smoker, left it for a few minutes over the heat, then switched off the gas and ignored it for a while.

I whipped the smoked cream until it was ‘over whipped’ and the ‘butter’ had separated leaving the butter milk sloshing around in the mixing bowl. I washed the butter three times in fresh icy water to remove any remaining buttermilk which means it will keep longer. It was then salted, shaped, and left in the fridge.

The one thing that was most memorable of Craigs butter recipe was that it was smooth, light and easily spread thickly – remember tandsmør .

I soon realised there were no concerns about keeping this deliciousness for long – it certainly wouldn’t last in this house!

And it hasn’t. Slathered onto a glorious loaf of sourdough I bought from Inver Restaurant in Upper Loch Fyne on the journey back to Islay – well, I no longer need ask ‘Is there any more of that bread and butter’!

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