Ohio’s Own: Minerva Butter Roll
Buying a butter roll is a commitment. It’s not just your regular 1-pound box of sticks. Rolls are typically two untidy amorphous pounds of milk fat. There’s no quarters; the roll is just a big cylindrical blob, loosely wrapped in waxy paper.
But what’s printed on the paper kinda matters. Case in point, butter from Minerva Dairy is butter from the oldest dairy in Ohio. That sounds like integrity. The butter’s label also promises 84 percent butterfat. Having noticed recently that regular butter seems weirdly watery (80 percent milkfat is the legal minimum) that 84 percent figure jumped out.
It jumped out so fast, that before even tasting, we did a little kitchen science experiment, just to see if there was some sort of difference. First observation, Minerva’s is a little harder and denser to cut straight out of the fridge. That’s a subjective difference, though. It might have to do with a higher fat content, but it might also have something to do with perceptions and the mammoth shape of the roll.
Melting-wise, Minerva melts faster than the big-box brand (10 seconds versus 25; but again, the household microwave oven introduces a wild card).
There were some other differences, but a phone call to a retired food scientist suggested that all of those observations could be explained by something innocuous like differences in fatty acid composition. So much for objectivity.
So back to subjective testing: the Minerva butter was buttery tasting. More buttery. That’s not to say big-box brand butter is bad (although the alliteration is satisfying). But more buttery is more better.
Rounding things out, Minerva’s butter roll is also rBST free; rBST is a Monsanto product, a hormone that increases milk production in cows. At one point, Monsanto actually pursued regulatory action with the FDA to prevent milk producers from labeling products as “rBST free” saying the matter was a public health concern.
You can find Minerva butter products at local gourmet grocers, and Giant Eagle too.
*Addendum: Per the food scientist’s suggestion, the test samples of butter were left out at room temperature following the experiment. Sure enough, something objective happened. The big box butter bled out a lot of water. There’s less water in Minerva’s roll butter.