Can Butter Be Better?

Butter-buying Americans used to have a simple choice: sweet or lightly salted. But over the past few years the average supermarket has begun stocking more brands, many with foreign pedigrees and costing $1 to $3 a pound more than mass-market butters. These gourmet, or European-style, butters have a higher butterfat content, making them creamier. There are cooking benefits as well: their lower moisture content makes for flakier pastries and less sputtering while sauteing. We tested a dozen of these butters from the U.S. and abroad. Here are our favorites:

PLUGRA, from Pennsylvania, ranked highest. Many chefs rely on this rich, aromatic...

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