On this day of Croissants, a question arises. Why do Quebec pastry chefs and bakers have so much trouble finding local butter for their products?
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Especially since the sector suffers from a shortage of bravery butter that comes from Europe and New Zealand.
This butter is very different from the one you find in the grocery store. It’s fattier (84% fat vs 80%), less crumbly, and handles at different temperatures.
Explains François Mattei-Jones, a teacher with DEP in pastry at the École Hôtelière de Montréal, who teaches his students to do it themselves.
While dairy in Quebec is “good,” he says, the method for making butter here is a little outdated.
In order to be able to use Quebec butter, it takes some work to remove the excess water. We hit 82% fat,” said the 60-year-old who arrived in Quebec from Switzerland in 1993.
However, what is good for its students is not good for professionals, who must be profitable without having much time.
At the famous Croissant Croissant, in Montreal, we know something about it. Before the store opened in 2016, the owners spent a year tasting all kinds of Quebec and Canadian butter before finding the right kind.
“We wanted to make a 100% local product. It was very complicated,” says Matteo Verlaget, who takes care of the recipes.
“We are ashamed”
What he finds cost him more than he can import from Belgium or New Zealand and come from another province he prefers not to name.
In Mr. Pinchot, in the same neighborhood, owner Joe Gédéon can’t buy anything other than ready-to-use butter in sticks, imported from Belgium.
“I wouldn’t pay an extra $20 a kilo to say that it’s Quebec, the croissant I’m using will only lower profitability,” he explains.
But he is optimistic. “I think we’re advanced enough to do this here, and I’d definitely prefer buying products only here,” he pleads.
At Automne’s bakery, we’d be willing to pay more, but no producer in Quebec is capable of supplying 2.5 tons of butter used each year.
“All of our flour is from Quebec, and our ingredients are 95% local, except for the butter. We are ashamed of taking it from the other side of the planet,” says Julien Roy, co-owner, who buys butter from New Zealand.
He believes that his production here has become more urgent because the sector is currently suffering from a shortage.
For the Conseil des Industriels laitiers du Québec, which has 90 member companies, there is expertise to develop.
“It’s certainly a very small market and requires a lot of investment for the size of the market,” explains Charles Langlois, CEO of the foundation.
Although he’s convinced companies will care about guts butter when the market is big enough, he admits that not everyone knows how to make it.
Nathan Kaiser, owner of Laiterie Chagnon, responds in Waterloo.
The 33-year-old entrepreneur has just developed a recipe for brave butter in wafers, in collaboration with Le Pain dans les voiles bakery.
“We failed in 2020, we put the project aside, but we tried again, the tests are crucial,” he says proudly.
Over the next few weeks, the industrial process for marketing will be developed.
“Why didn’t anyone do it? For us, since we’re young, it’s a huge potential market. We’re determined to seize the opportunity,” he adds.
Its goal is to provide processed butter in flake form at competitive prices compared to imported products.
In the short term, Nathan Kaiser will produce 5,000 kilograms per week, but he does not intend to stop there.
Soon, bakers may not have to bring their butter more than 6000 kilometers away.
What is Courage Butter?
It is butter, as its name suggests, used to lay it, and it is one of the stages of production of puff pastry and pastry dough, such as butter croissant. It does not have the same properties as standard butter found in our grocery stores. It is fatter (84% fat compared to 80%), has better flexibility and is easier to handle.