Yesterday’s tip was about how to use compound butter.
What if you want to make it—or bake, or whatever—but your butter is too hard to use?
Experienced cooks know that for room temperature butter, you need to place the butter on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Don’t use hard or semi-hard butter when the recipe specifies soft.
When the butter is soft enough to use, you’ll be able to place your fingerprint on it to make a depression.
No pre-softening is necessary.
Use a mixer to beat butter until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Flatten the butter between two sheets of parchment paper using a rolling pin. In just 3-5 minutes, your butter will be softened.
Grating butter is another quick way to soften it. It takes 5-10 minutes to soften butter using a grater.
Cut sticks of butter into small cubes—or small pieces in general. The butter will soften in 20-30 minutes—faster than the 30-60 minutes required to leave the whole bar on the counter.
IMPORTANT: Never heat the butter to a liquid state instead of softening it on the counter. The recipe chemistry will not work out.
OVERNIGHT SOFTENING: You can leave the butter on the counter to soften overnight. Butter can stay out of the fridge for up to two days.
In the days before refrigeration, people used a butter crock—also called a butter bell or butter keeper—and kept the butter on the counter.
You can find several styles on Amazon, but the one we like best is shaped like a conventional butter holder with a lid, as opposed to a round crock.