Thanks to everyone who actually answered my question and gave me suggestions. Much appreciated.
This topic inspired me to read:
She reports that in the days before refrigeration, when they used salt as a preservative, a typical ratio was 5% by weight for butter that would be consumed promptly, vs. 1-2% in contemporary salted butter. For longer storage, they used large amounts of salt, comparable to what we still use for salt-packed anchovies, and would wash it out before eating.
I saw this today–pricey, but might solve your quest:
That seems insanely expensive. You can get functionally similar ones for $30-80.
President Butter it is. Rich, creamy, and the perfect amount of salt for me. I’m not sure why I never bothered trying it before…
Thank you, @J_L!
You don’t need a specialty tool to make butter. You just pour heavy cream into a blender/food processor/mixer and mix for about 10 minutes. Add salt if you want it salted. Strain out the solids, and form them into a patty/log/brick. You’ve got butter. Stick it in the fridge to stay fresher longer. If you want it denser, put a weight on top of it for a while.
yeah, I realize–but I saw this while reading the NY Times and thought I would offer it up as a suggestion. If you can’t find butter you like, why not make it yourself? (and it’s a cute/hipster pricey hand-churned kit that somebody might like)
Side Note: When I was in elementary school (in Boston/in the 60s) our class went on a field trip to a dairy farm and they showed up how to churn butter by hand. We all got to participate and make our own butter to bring home. Best butter ever.
My all-purpose choice is Straus. Challenge European-Style is excellent as well albeit hard to find. Tillamook, and Clover are easily found brands. What can I say, I Love Butter. My friends tease me because I’ll often time slice off a 1" piece, and nibble on it like cheese.
Reading that book, I learned a couple of surprising things: coloring agents such as annatto do not have to be listed on the label, and diacetyl or lactic acid can be listed as “natural flavoring.”
Some salted butters she recommends:
Clover Farmstead Organic European-Style with Sea Salt
Le Gall Beurre de Baratte, Fleur de Sel de Guérande
Organic Valley Pasture