Aug 30, 2014

Baking When You Only Have Cold, Hard Butter (How to Quickly Soften Butter)

How to Quickly Soften Cold Butter for Baking -

Many baking recipes call for softened butter. But I rarely remember to take the butter out of the fridge to soften, and all too often, when I do, I run out of time to bake and end up tossing the butter back in to the fridge. Fortunately, I picked up a little tip from my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I adapted from Thomas Keller's cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, and this technique works great for all of my baking now:

To quickly soften cold butter for baking, simply cut the cold butter into small pieces, then put the butter in a mixer and beat until creamy.

As you can see in the photo above, I cut the butter lengthwise four times on each side, then slice the butter into half-tablespoons, which creates a cross-section of sixteen small pieces. A stand mixer is great for this method, because you can dump the butter pieces in, start the mixer, and walk away. But a hand-held mixer should work fine too. The process takes anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on how cold the butter and air in the room are.

This method works a lot better than microwaving butter, which tends to melt the butter rather than softening it.

Happy baking!


Aviva said...

What an awesome tip! We have the same problem about remembering butter, and either it's rock hard when we want/need it, or I take it out and let it soften and end up throwing it right back into the fridge when I run out of time. Now I just need to remember this tip!!

Chief Family Officer said...

Yay! I'm happy I could help :D