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
I tried Finlandia salted butter recently and it’s very good. Very rich and very creamy with the perfect amount of salt for me.
This and Président salted butter are now my everyday favorites.