Buttery (bread)

Alternative names Rowie, rollie, Aberdeen roll, Cookie
Type Bread roll
Place of origin Aberdeen, Scotland
Main ingredients Flour, lard, butter or vegetable oil, yeast
Cookbook: Buttery  Media: Buttery

A buttery, also known as a roll, rowie, rollie, or Aberdeen roll, is a Scottish savoury bread roll.


Legend has it that the buttery was made for the fishermen sailing from Aberdeen harbour. The theory is that they needed a bread that would not become stale during the two weeks or more that they were at sea. The high fat content meant the bread also provided an immediate energy source.[1]


Butteries are noted for their flaky texture and buttery taste, similar to that of a croissant, and slight saltiness. They are often toasted and served with jam or butter, or plain with tea, although the high fat content (partly lard) makes them extremely hot when toasted. Commercial producers use vegetable oils instead of butter.[2][3]

As the alternative name of Aberdeen roll suggests, butteries are a speciality of Aberdeen but they are common throughout the Northeast of Scotland.

Articles in the Aberdeen Journal from early in the 19th century bemoan the increased use of lard in place of butter in traditional "butter rolls".[4] In 1917 when restrictions were placed on the sale of bread owing to World War I, butteries were exempt, enabling Aberdeen bakers to continue to produce rowies. The exemption was rescinded a few months later but appeals were made on the grounds that butteries were an intrinsic "part of the food of the working classes in industrial centres."[5] Aberdeen City Food Control Committee continued to challenge the validity of the restriction two years later in February 1919.[6]

In 2006 a buttery was offered for sale on eBay during a fund raising for the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital; the successful bidder was Enterprise Engineering who paid £620 for it.[7]

See also


  1. "Aberdeen butteries". Information Britain. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  2. packet information from J G Ross Buttery 4 pack. "Ingredients: Wheatflour,Water ,Vegetable Oil ,Sugar ,Animal Fat ,Yeast ,Salt ,Emulsifier (E471, E322) ,Natural Vegetable Colours (E160b/E100) ,Flavouring." Tesco.com website accessed 14 June 2010
  3. Aberdeen Butteries 4 pack ingredients list states "Non Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat ,Vegetable Oils" Tesco.com website accessed 14 June 2010
  4. "Glimpses of Olden Days in Aberdeen", w.William Buchanan p. The Aberdeen Journal 1870 "Aberdeen 50 years ago" - page 11
  5. "The Buttery Rowie, threat to Aberdeen's morning delicacy". Evening Express (12222). 27 August 1917. p. 2 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. "Food committee and fish prices, buttery rowie again". Aberdeen Journal (20011). 19 February 1919. p. 4 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. "Aberdeen rowie sells for £620 on eBay". The Scotsman. 24 April 2006. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
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