Beurre d’Échiré is an AOC butter made by a cooperative, Société de Laiterie Coopérative d’Échiré, that produces only 950 tons of it a year. The butterfat content is 84%.
The milk must come from cows that have grazed within 19 miles (30 km) of Échiré, a village on the Atlantic coast of France between Poitiers and La Rochelle. There are 66 farms (as of 2006) that are part of the cooperative supplying milk for the butter. When the milk arrives from the various farms at the butter factory, it’s skimmed within two hours. It’s pasteurized at a low temperature, then has a starter culture added to it. The culture is allowed to develop for 16 to 18 hours, by which time the milk has essentially become crème fraîche. The milk is then churned in teak churns to form the butter, which is then washed in water drawn from a local spring right near the factory.
Unsalted and “demi-sel” (aka “semi-salted”) versions are made.
Beurre d’Échiré is available in America in some stores.
A special version for pastry making, called Le Beurre Spécial Cuisine-Patisserie, has only 13% water in it.
Beurre d’Échiré is excellent in baking, for slow melting, and as a spread.
The Société de Laiterie Coopérative d’Échiré was formed 11 June 1984. There are 66 farms in the cooperative. Their butter factory was built in 1894; the original milk skimming machines are still in use.