I Can’t Believe There’s No Butter

My wife and I were crushed to learn last week that one of our favorite products — Green Valley Organics’ Lactose-Free Butter — is currently out of production due to supply issues with the dairy that sells them organic cream.

Having REAL butter with the lactose removed has been a godsend for me.  Absolutely none of the “butter substitute” products we’ve tried have been even remotely acceptable as a cooking/baking replacement, and, believe me, we have tried a lot of them.  Frpm good old fashioned margarine to the awkwardly named “Vegan Buttery Sticks”, they neither taste the same as butter, nor do they perform the same way, particularly in baking.  I had somewhat resigned myself to making cookies and cakes and brownies and such that would never be as good as they should be, when I first came across the Green Valley Organics product a couple of years ago.  We’d already discovered their phenomenal lactose-free cream cheese and sour cream, so the addition of a lactose-free butter was almost too good to be true.

Even when the butter was in production, it would often be difficult to find. We would often have to go to several different Whole Foods stores to find it, and when we did find it would buy almost every package on the shelf to keep in the freezer. We finally convinced our local Market Basket to carry it, since they have been good about adding lactose-free dairy items and were already selling the other Green Valley products.  Then, sometime over the summer, they stopped having any.  I assumed they had either run out and were waiting for more, or that they had given up on a product with limited appeal. But, I figured we could still stock up at Whole Foods as we had done in the past.  When there was no butter to be found there either, my wife contacted the company and they emailed her a copy of the press release that is currently on their website.

From a little quick Googling, it appears that this is the ONLY product on the market which is real butter made from cream with the lactose removed via the lactase enzyme.  Every other “lactose-free butter” is a hybrid product with hydrogenated oil among the ingredients.  Butter in its natural composition does not contain very much lactose in the first place, but my lactose intolerance (which is probably more accurately described as a more general dairy intolerance) is severe enough that butter and cheese (also very low in lactose) have been problematic for me to eat for a while.  More recently, I’ve been better able to consume some dairy if I take a boatload of lactase pills, but I don’t want to have to do that just to be able to use real butter for sauteeing or making a sauce.

There’s one package left in our fridge and one more in the freezer, so I’ve been thinking long and hard about doing any sort of baking if it means using up what little is left. I’m hoping this product returns very soon, or that some other producer will see the market value in this sort of product (looking right at you, Lactaid) and fill the void if Green Valley Organics is unable to do so.

3 comments

  1. A BSC Blogger · 19 Days Ago

    Coming from a family…actually coming from marrying into a family…with multiple food issues, I know this sort of challenge. It seems that a food that particularly meets a need puts you at risk to the folly of market pressures. Remember what a most excellent culinary expert I am…not…but have you tried ghee or the various incarnations of ghee? I read that ghee is 100% lactose free. Will it substitute for your buttery needs? -Karan

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    • Brian Kane · 19 Days Ago

      Ghee is fine for sauteeing and other uses that require melted butter as a cooking fat, but not so much for baking,. The role of butter is different in baking, since it is often the way you keep moisture in things so that steam can be used to leaven the final product — think puff pastry or biscuits.

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  2. Karan · 19 Days Ago

    You know Brian, I’d take a cooking class from you in a quick minute and even sit through the whole thing!

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