Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How to Soften Butter

Curl of butter

When baking, the recipe often calls for softened butter. Icy cold, straight from the refrigerator butter is usually too hard to work with, and when the baking urge hits, waiting for the butter to come to room temperature is agony.

The obvious solution to softening the butter; putting it in the microwave, almost always leads to disaster. Some part of it always starts to melt, and the results never seem to be quite as intended.

Here are a few other methods that yield more consistent results:

Using a stand grater to grate the butter is an effective way to soften it, as the small shreds soften much more quickly than a whole stick. Don’t worry…it’s quicker to do than you think it is.

Another method that is effective, is to put the butter in a plastic bag, and use a rolling pin to manipulate it into a  more malleable state.

Alternatively, place the butter in a tightly sealed plastic bag, and submerge it in warm, not hot water for a few minutes, until it reaches the desired state. You can use the same bowl of water you are using to bring your eggs to room temperature, which we discussed her last week.

Or, if it is the first step in the recipe, do as I often do when time crunched. Put the hard stick of butter into the electric mixer and beat it into submission!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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