The butter manufacturing process

It takes 22 kg of whole milk to make 1 kg of butter.


Collect milk

  • Mechanical milking: the most popular method in France. Generally takes place twice a day. The milking machine is fixed onto the cow’s cleaned udder and stimulates the calf’s teat.
  • Robotic milking: milking on demand by a robot. An electronic tracking device enables the milking duration to be tailored to each cow depending on its volume of available milk. 5% of French farms are equipped with milking robots.


   Pipes take the milk to a refrigerated

Refrigerated storage

Chill the milk to prevent bacteria from developing and store milk in the right conditions

  • A pre-cooling system before the milk arrives at the storage tank
  • Storage in a 4°C refrigerated tank for a maximum of 72 hours
  • Preserves the beneficial bacterial flora of milk.
  • Prevents the development of pathogens.
Quality analysis

Guarantee milk quality

  • Milk samples are taken during collection
  • Samples are sent to authorized laboratories for analysis based on different criteria
  • For farmers: quality-based milk payments
  • For dairies: manufacturing of quality dairy products
  • For consumers: a guarantee of food safety and organoleptic quality

Transport milk from the farm to the dairy

  • Every two days, an isothermal refrigerated tanker collects the raw milk and transports it to the dairy.

The cold chain is maintained

Quality analysis

Guarantee product quality


Samples are sent to laboratories to detect any traces of antibiotics or other substances that could negatively impact manufacturing

  • For dairies: manufacturing of quality dairy products
  • For consumers: a guarantee of food safety and organoleptic quality
Unloading and storage at the dairy

Transfer milk from the refrigerated tanker to the factory tank for storage before processing

  • The milk is transferred from the tanker to the storage tank by a system of pipes.

  • Thermal preprocessing is possible before storage, to reduce the number of undesirable micro-organisms and improve the shelf life of milk.


The cold chain is maintained.

Quality analysis

Guarantee product quality

  • Samples are taken throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Samples are sent to laboratories for analysis based on different criteria.
  • For dairies: manufacturing of quality products
  • For consumers: a guarantee of food safety and organoleptic quality
Skimming and dosage of cream (standardization)

Adjust the fat content

  • The milk is separated from the cream by centrifugal force. The cream leaves the separator at the top and the skimmed milk at the bottom.
  • In a mixing tank, different quantities of cream are added depending on the type of cream desired (standardization to the right level).

This process ensures homogeneous fat content for each category of dairy product.


Eliminate micro-organisms that are harmful for humans.


Cream is heated to 72°C for 15 seconds by a pasteurizer.


Elimination of pathogens


Bring the cream to an ideal temperature for inoculation

The procedure varies between factories. The product is chilled to prepare for the following step.
Inoculation and maturation

Facilitate the product’s technological transformation and develop flavours

  • Lactic ferments from subtle-tasting cream or butter are added to the cream, which thickens.
  • The cream is left to mature at 12°C for 10 hours.
  • Enables flavours to develop
  • Removes any acidity
Churning, washing and creaming

Extract and agglomerate the fat globules

  • The cream is churned in a churner. Its fat globules split up and bind together, freeing the buttermilk.
  • The grains of butter are drained and rinsed to remove the remaining buttermilk.
  • Creaming gives the butter its smooth, homogeneous texture.
  • Salt may be added at this stage.
  • The butter is then refrigerated.
La collecte
Le stockage
Analyse qualité
La collecte
Analyse qualité
Le dépotage
Analyse qualité
La pasteurisation
Le refroidissement
Le barattage

A regulated definition

"Butter" is a legally protected name

This protection is stipulated in France by decree (30 December 1988) and in the European Union through “Single CMO” regulation (n°1234/2007).

“Butter” may only be used to describe the water-in-fat emulsion product obtained by physically transforming dairy ingredients.

It is made from creams that may be pasteurized, frozen or deep frozen. The 1988 French decree regulates product names, cream processing, and the ingredients of butter and dairy specialities.


With or without a qualifier (salted, etc.), butter must have the following ingredients:


butter composition

Different types of butter

Raw butter or butter made from raw cream

As its name indicates, raw butter is obtained exclusively from cream that has not undergone any purification treatment apart from the original milk being kept in refrigerated (4°C) tanks.

Extra-fine butter

“Beurre extra-fin” is made exclusively from pasteurized cream that has never been frozen, deep frozen, or deacidified This means that manufacturing starts no later than 72 hours after the milk or cream is collected, or 48 hours after milk is skimmed.

Fine butter

“Beurre fin” contains no more than 30% frozen or deep-frozen raw ingredients.

Salted butter

“Beurre sale” butter generally contains no more than 3% salt.

Lightly salted butter

“Beurre demi-sel” generally contains between 0.8% and 3% salt.

Flavoured butter

“Beurre aromatisé” has had various products added, hot or cold: spices, herbs, cheese, honey, fruit, cocoa, etc.

Designated Place of Origin butter

Like all appellations d'origine, this butter meets rigorous criteria concerning the region of origin and manufacturing tradition.

Three types of butter, Charentes-Poitou, Isigny and Bresse, have earned a Designated Place of Origin through their links to specific regions, as well as their fine quality and specific flavours.

Concentrated butter (baking butter)

This butter has had virtually all its water and unfatty dry matter removed by gentle melting, decantation and centrifugation. It contains at least 99.8% anhydrous milk fat (AMF).

Reduced-fat butter

This butter must contain 60-62% fat.

The cream is pasteurized first.

Low-fat butter

“Demi-beurre” contains 39-41% fat. The cream is pasteurized first.

Cooking butter

This powdered butter contains at least 96% dairy fat.

Concentrated butter or butter oil

This butter contains 99.8% milk fat (also known as AMF). It is used above all in breads, pastries and cakes (47%) as well as processed cheese, spreadable fats, chocolate products, biscuits, etc. Depending on the food, it can provide a golden finish, flavour or flakiness.

The nutritional benefits of butter

Butter is made up of 82% fat and 16% water. The remaining 2% contains vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals.
The flavours in butter add taste and smoothness to food. What’s more, butter is healthy if eaten in moderation!

  • Fat and fatty acids
    • Provide our bodies with some of the energy we need (a 10 g knob of butter provides around 75 kcal)
    • Are essential to cell function
    • Enable butter to be easily digested and rapidly absorbed by our bodies

    We should therefore eat fat but in moderation. Butter is a natural food that provides energy and vitamins. Consumed in moderation, it has its place in a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Vitamin A
    • Is essential to growth.
    • Contributes to good eyesight.
    • Protects the skin and the mucous membranes.
    • Helps our bodies to fight infection and resist certain illnesses.

    Butter is the only fat that contains a notable quantity of vitamin A. 20-30 g of butter a day covers around 30% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

  • Vitamin D
    • Helps calcium to assimilate and fix in the bones
    • Plays an essential role in bone growth and preventing osteoporosis..
Butter: tasty and healthy too