How to Make a Butter Board: Top Chefs Break Down the TikTok Sensation

(Bloomberg) – The latest TikTok food obsession, the butter board, continues to intrigue milk fans.

Excitement surrounding the new party staple snack — softened butter mixed and/or topped with flavors ranging from salt and citrus to honey and bacon, then generously spread out on a serving board and served with bread — was sparked on September 12 by Chef Justine Doiron posted to her 2 million audience on TikTok. Within a week, #butterboard had garnered more than 30 million views; it now has over 115 million.

Designed as a simple and affordable alternative to cheese and charcuterie boards, the board offers a potentially limitless selection of add-ins, displayed in the most dramatic of ways for social media consumption.

In 2021, the attention paid to feta cheese pasta — last year’s most searched dish on Google — boosted global feta sales worldwide. Southeastern supermarket chain Fresh Market saw sales jump 45%.

It’s unclear if the attention will be enough to move the needle to something as ubiquitous as butter. But butter boards are already more expensive to produce than they were a year ago. The price of butter in the US is at an all-time high, averaging $4.70 per pound, after production costs rose and the extreme summer heat strained the domestic milk supply.

Some restaurants already have versions on the menu. One of America’s top pizza restaurants, Razza, in Jersey City, New Jersey, offers a butter tasting that includes one made with sweet Hudson Valley cream and a contrasting “Bleu Butter” infused with Penicillium Roquefort (the mold that causes blue veins) cheese was injected).

Chef Dan Richer, who has been making butter boards since 2012, says that what Razza offers is “very simple and straightforward, there are no condiments like honey or figs or herbs like those seen in the newly popular TikTok videos.” However, he makes one topping exception: caviar. “Because why not?” he said.

So who better to turn to than chefs for butter inspiration? Doiron credits Oregon-based chef Joshua McFadden with inspiration for her Butterboard.

Bloomberg Pursuits sat down with a few other top chefs to get their thoughts. From pesto to cornflakes, here are her top picks.

Eight ways to make a butter board

Go Italian

By Don Angie, Manhattan

“We think it might be fun to make an Italian-inspired version of a butter board using whipped lardo instead of butter,” says co-owner and chef Angie Rito. She recommends Pesto Modenese from Emilia-Romagna, made with whipped pork fat, seasoned with garlic and rosemary. “It would be a delicious substitute for butter at its finest, and could be served with grated parmigiano and flaky sea salt, along with anything from marinated veggies and herbs to things like anchovies, olives or nuts,” she said.

Bacon of course

By Kudu Collective, London

At Kudu, the brioche-style South African bread mosbolletjies are served with melted smoked bacon butter or melted seafood butter. “Both of these butters would look great slathered on a board and topped with chopped bacon on one side and seared brown shrimp on the other,” says chef Patrick Williams. As an alternative, he suggests a plain buttered board sprinkled with the spicy sumac spice to serve with raisin bread.

Cornflakes Combo

From Retan, London

Josh Dalloway, executive chef and co-founder of Supper Club Retan, likes the idea of ​​a butter board style where the fat is presented in different stages, from freshly made to cultured to mature cultured, meaning fully fermented. He’s also considering wrapping the aged butter in fig leaves to add flavor. But he also has faster, more unconventional ideas: “Cornflakes on salted butter are a great combination,” says Dalloway. Here’s why: “The cornflakes add texture while also infusing the salty/sweet trickery, akin to mixing salty and sweet popcorn at the movies.”

Make it seasonal

From Hotel Lilien, Tannersville, New York

New boutique hotel Catskills has jumped on the trend and is offering a butterboard as a limited time $11 special. Chef Jeff Grover says the key thing is to start with unsalted butter “so you can control the salt with toppings and flaky Maldon.” He designs his butter board seasonally: His autumnal-hot honey variant contains dried figs and pumpkin seeds.

Mix it up

From NoMad, London

In the Covent Garden Hotel’s restaurants, chef Ashley Abodeely uses a variety of butters, from regular to breeding cow and goat’s butter. For a slab of butter, she recommends basting them with a different fat “to lighten the texture and make sure they’re spreadable.” “We ship the soured butter with yogurt for acidity, the goat butter with crème fraiche for body, and the regular butter with mascarpone for volume,” she says. She adds pesto for flavor and light green color, and suggests garnishing with radishes or pickles, or even just a drizzle of olive oil.

Think like a chef

From the Water House Project, London

Chef Gabriel Waterhouse focuses on large taste groups when flavoring butter in his restaurant. He currently offers both porcini or porcini mushrooms as well as coffee and juniper. For homemade buttered boards for entertainment, “I would organize from earthy (like mushrooms, coffee, jam, whiskey, etc.) to grassy (watercress, parsley), to floral and aromatic (basil, tarragon), to sweet and tangy (preserved lemon), elderberry, port and honey).”

DIY, with Marmite

From Pied a Terre, London

Chef Asimakis Chaniotis believes that the best catering starts with homemade butter. His recipe: Beat high-quality double or heavy cream with an electric whisk or mixer until butterfat and buttermilk separate, then squeeze the butterfat in cheesecloth to remove the moisture. You can just flavor the fresh butter with Maldon salt, it’s that good. Or try a few flavors. “I love a mixture of jam, tarragon puree and smoked paprika. This different colored butter would look great on a board.”

Look at the board

By Valerie, Manhattan

While toppings are important, chef Dan Fleming is also considering the optimal serving board. “I like to use wood panels with light lamination. This allows for a smooth swab to the vessel of your choice,” he says. He also wants people to consider the accompaniments. He recommends a range of breads, from cranberry walnut to sourdough and lavash crackers. And he says serve at least one cheese with it. Because sometimes a butter board just isn’t enough.

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