Food and drink

Homemade Butteries


I don’t normally do requests but on this occasion I’ll make an exception. An expat friend of mine demanded that I post a recipe for butteries after my snapshot post on them last week. The sight of Aitken’s finest produce on my frontpage reminded him how much he missed them for breakfast. I can’t blame him really.

Butteries or rowies are a speciality of north-east Scotland. Similar to a flat croissant, they’re high in fat and salt with a large amount of butter and lard in the recipe. This isn’t health food! They were originally developed as food that would keep for a few days on a fishing boat; hence the high salt content. Don’t be put off by their unhealthy reputation though. As an occasional treat they’re delicious. As long as they’re fresh then I’ll eat them plain but most people like them lightly toasted with butter and jam.

I’ve never made them myself before but I’m game to give things a try for the blog. If you’re following this recipe then please bear in mind that it makes 16 butteries. You’ll inevitably get to the point where you cream the butter and lard and be slightly terrified by the sight of so much fat in a bowl. Don’t worry about it. Give the extra butteries to some friends and make them feel fat as well.

Creaming the butter and lard was by far the biggest hassle of this recipe. I should have trusted my gut feeling to use an electric whisk but instead I decided to go with a wooden spoon. Even after leaving the butter and lard out of the fridge for an hour to come to room temperature it was still really hard work.

The other big faff is the rolling, spreading, folding process. The first one is fine but by the time I’d used up all the creamed mix and was rolling out the dough again the fat had made it so wet and sticky that it was beginning to fall apart. Perhaps a short rest in the fridge between rolling would have helped that.

Finally mine obviously don’t look quite right. I was pushed for time as I had a night out which I was threatening to be late for as I was finishing them; so instead of rolling out the individual butteries with a rolling-pin I grabbed them in my hand, rolled them in a ball and then squished them flat. Not the right thing to do. This meant that in some cases I’d squished them with the edge of the layers pointing vertical and so when they rested and then baked the layers all fanned out.

Despite that they tasted fantastic. Absolutely perfect flavour and texture. Now I’ve made them I’ll definitely be making them again (in smaller batches!). As a purely occasional treat of course.

Makes 16 butteries

500g Strong white flour
400ml Lukewarm water
125g Lard
250g Butter
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 sachet easy yeast

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
Pour half of the water into the well and start stirring, drawing the flour into the centre.
As you stir the dough you can slowly add in the rest of the water (you might not need to add it all).
Once flour has formed a dough turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it lightly for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a clean, lightly greased bowl and leave it covered in a warm place to rise for about an hour.
While it’s rising cream together the lard and butter so it forms a soft, spreadable paste and .
Turn out the dough and give it another quick knead for a minute.
Roll the dough out to a long rectangle roughly 20cm x 40cm in size.
Spread one third of the creamed butter mix over two thirds of the dough.
Fold the third without butter on it over the middle of the dough then fold the bottom third (with butter) over the top of that so you have 3 layers.
Repeat the spreading and layering process another two times (3 in total) using up all the creamed butter mix.
Roll out the dough to 20cm x 40cm again and then cut it into 16 pieces.
Lightly grease some baking trays and roll the dough pieces into rough circular shapes then place them on the trays.
Leave them to rise for forty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cook the butteries in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve on their own or with butter and jam.

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3 thoughts on “Homemade Butteries”

  1. You had me at “butter and lard”. I feel fatter – and more envious – already. I had my first go at Danish pastry late last year and feel like my arterties have only just recovered (shame about my thighs). But this looks very tempting…

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