More butter from the end of the world

More butter from the end of the world

On this croissant party day, a question arises. Why do Quebecois confectioners and bakers have so much trouble finding local butter for their products?

Especially since the sector is struggling with the shortage of Courage butter coming from Europe and New Zealand.

This butter is very different from what you find in the supermarket. It is fattier (84% fat vs. 80%), less crumbly, and handles at different temperatures.

“We buy it already wrapped, diluted, it comes in gorgeous squares, all ready to put on the dough,” explains François Matthey-Jonas, a teacher with a PED in pastry at the École Hôtelière de Montréal, who teaches his students how to make it. themselves.

While Quebec dairy is “good,” he says, the way butter is made here is a bit archaic.

“To use Quebec butter, it takes some work to remove excess water. We managed to reach 82% fat,” says the sixty-year-old who arrived in Quebec from Switzerland in 1993.

What is good for your students, however, is not good for professionals, who must be profitable without the luxury of time.

At Montreal’s renowned Croissant Croissant, we know something about it. Before opening the store in 2016, the two owners spent a year trying all the butter from Quebec and Canada before finding the right one.

“We wanted to make a 100% local product. It was quite complicated”, says Matthieu Virloget, who is in charge of the recipes.

“We are ashamed”

The one he found costs him more than the one he could import from Belgium or New Zealand and it comes from another province whose name he prefers not to mention.

At Mr. Pinchot in the same neighborhood, owner Joe Gédéon can’t afford to buy anything other than ready-to-use stick butter, imported from Belgium.

“I’m not going to pay $20 more per kilo just to say it’s from Quebec, my croissant would only decrease in profitability,” he explains.

But he is optimistic. “I think we’re far enough along to do it here, I’d rather only buy products from here,” he pleads.

At Automne Bakery, we’d be willing to pay more, but no Quebec grower can supply the 2.5 tons of touring butter used each year.

“All our flours are from Quebec, and our ingredients are 95% local, except for the butter. We are embarrassed to take it from the other side of the planet”, says Julien Roy, co-owner, who buys the butter from him in New Zealand.

without knowing how to do

It becomes even more urgent to produce it here as the sector is currently experiencing a shortage, he thinks.

For the Conseil des Industriels laitiers du Québec, which has 90 member companies, there is experience to develop.

“It is true that it is a very small market and that it requires a lot of investment for the size of the market,” explains Charles Langlois, CEO of the organization.

Although he is convinced that companies will be interested in Courage butter when the market is big enough, he admits that not everyone knows how to make it.


To which Nathan Kaiser, owner of Laiterie Chagnon, in Waterloo, responds.

The young 33-year-old entrepreneur has just developed a recipe for courage butter in wafers, in collaboration with the Le Pain Dans Les voiles bakery.

“We failed in 2020, we put the project aside, but we tried again, and the evidence is conclusive,” he says proudly.

In the coming weeks, the industrial process for its commercialization will be developed.

“Why didn’t anyone do it?” For us, since we are small, it is a huge potential market. We intend to seize the opportunity,” he adds.

Its objective is to offer cured butter in wafers at competitive prices compared to imported products.

In the short term, Nathan Kaiser will produce 5,000 kilos a week, but he has no intention of stopping there.

Soon, bakers will no longer have to search for their butter more than 6,000 km away.

Courage butter, what is it?

It is butter that, as its name suggests, is used for setting, one of the stages in the production of puff pastries and pastries, such as butter croissants. It does not have the same characteristics as the standard butter found in our supermarkets. It is noticeably fatter (84% fat versus 80%) and has better plasticity and is easier to work with.

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