Updated May 2009
Page 2: How To Soften Butter
Page 2 of a two-page article on butter tips. Click on the links below to visit Page 1.
To Soften Butter
Soften butter for baking by removing it from the refrigerator and letting it stand for 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature.
- To soften butter quickly, cut it into 1-inch chunks and allow it to soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. If you need it even faster than that, place the chunks between sheets of wax paper and smash them with a rolling pin, flipping the wax paper so that you smash each side.
- While you can melt butter in the microwave for cooking, it is not recommended for baking: It alters the physical properties of the butter so that it adheres differently to the flour, and won’t achieve the same texture.
- To soften butter in the microwave for non-baking purposes, select the defrost setting (30% power). Check sticks of butter every 5 seconds so that they do not over-soften or melt completely—the butter can quickly melt even when watched carefully.
- If you want to keep butter softened for ease of use, you can keep it at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. The flavor and color may be affected, but it is safe to use—it’s what people did before refrigeration! You can store butter in any covered dish, but many are made specifically for butter. Here’s a selection of butter dishes, ranging from the traditional to the modern:
|Alessi Butter Dish. The international design guru crafts this modern wonder of a butter dish in stainless steel and crystal. Pricey but fun. Click here for more information.
||Pfaltzgraff Stoneware Butter Dish. The Ocean Breeze pattern features a neutral off-white with a tranquil blue and green country border. Dishwasher-safe. Click here for more information.
|| Pfaltzgraff Stoneware
Butter Dish. In the Empire
pattern, handsome black and
charcoal glazes. Dishwasher-safe. Click here for more information.
Note: Items were available at original publication date and may no longer be available.
- Don’t use margarine, shortening or part-butter products as a replacement for real butter in a recipe. Spreads contain more water than butter and will not perform the same. And, there’s no comparison in taste.
- When making cookie dough, don’t melt the butter to soften it. This may result in dough that spreads when it’s baked, into flat, thin cookies. Instead, cut the butter into small chunks; at room temperature, it will soften in about 15 minutes.
- Creaming butter and sugar until it’s light increases its spread; blending butter and sugar reduces its spread.