We talk all things butter with Pierre Issa of Pepe Saya.
Buttermaker extraordinaire Pierre Issa founded Pepe Saya in 2010 when he discovered that there was no artisan butter being made in Australia. It’s no ordinary butter – made with single origin local cream that’s worked by hand.
We chat to Pepe Saya about his cultured butter. Grab Pepe Saya butter, ghee or creme fraiche on your next Vic’s Meat Market visit – find it in the fridge near the cashier.
1. OTHER THAN THE DELICIOUS FLAVOUR, WHAT MAKES YOUR BUTTER SO SPECIAL?
Our butter is hand-churned cultured butter, using cream from happy Australian cows, which gives it our unique buttery scent and flavour.
2. HOW IS PEPE SAYA BUTTER MADE?
We add a lactic culture to sour the cream and allow our cream to be fermented and sour over a two-week period before being churned. The culture converts lactose into lactic acid which produces additional aroma compounds (such as diacetyl) which causes the extremely buttery scent and flavour that uncultured butter does not normally possess. The soured cream is then churned until our butter is formed; strained and hand-worked to remove water (creating our buttermilk) and then kneaded to achieve our perfect consistency, our salted butter then has Olsson’s salt patted through. All our butter is then hand pressed into our various sizes.
3. WHERE DID THE NAME PEPE SAYA COME FROM?
Pepe is my nickname, given to me by my dad as a kid. Being of Lebanese-Australian heritage, and moving to Australia as a little boy, Pepe was an easier alternative to Pierre, and it has stuck ever since then. Saya is something odd I used to say as a kid because it meant I was in my dream world – ‘Pepe is in Saya’.
4. YOU’RE ALWAYS WORKING ON FUN AND INNOVATIVE COLLABORATIONS LIKE ESPRESSO BUTTER. WHAT’S NEXT?
The big (very exciting) thing coming from Pepe Saya this year is a Certified Organic range. After finishing off 2017 by achieving our Organic Certification, we will be starting the new year with a collaboration with Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia, launching the Pepe Saya Organic range in early February. We will be starting out with salted and unsalted butter, and organic ghee (perfect for cooking meat with).
5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO COOK MEAT WITH YOUR BUTTER?
I don’t cook with our butter, I cook with Pepe Saya ghee, which is clarified butter. I cook a lot of rib eye/tomahawk cuts. I salt both sides and let it sit at room temperature for around 4 hours, I then marinate it in ghee, cook it on a really really hot barbeque, doing it 4 minutes on one side and 2 on the other- I like my meat rare, very rare! I then pour melted ghee over my steak.