I wrote about it years ago the cult of the Food52 French Butter Keeper. The small stoneware container sells consistently year after year. It promises smooth, creamy, spreadable butter so that your toast never has to suffer violence against cold butter again. It looks cute too.
At the time, I lived in an apartment with winter temperatures determined by a radiator and summer heat. I undressed because I’m an A / C martyr. Whatever the season, the butter melted or formed on the counter in days. It would never work for us.
Now I have perfected the art of butter at room temperature in a normal temperature house kept at 30 ° C in winter. It makes my toast life so much better. Every few days I add a new stick to the dregs of the old one. I take care of my butter like an easy-care pet. And I didn’t have to buy anything.
Step 1: don’t worry
Almost all butter sold in this country is pasteurized – like cooked. That kills bacteria. Butter is also so high in fat that it is a stronghold against most bacteria. * Sit a week long on your counter will be fine. Even the FDA says it. (Well, they’d add “probably okay” because they’re very, very careful.)
* Not all bacteria, and the longer the same stick of butter sticks out – the more exposed it is to the air – the more it will break down and possibly taste rancid (sour-funky-bad). Maybe you should eat more toast?
Step 2: identify your kitchen temperature
Your kitchen needs to have a fairly constant room temperature to have any success with the countertop butter. Claire Saffitz wrote this in her Guide to Softening Butter for Baking the temperature of the softened butter– already for whipping into a cake – it is 68 to 70 ° F. My kitchen gets so cold at night in winter that my counter butter is too cold – 63 today! But that is still easier to distribute than straight from the crispy butter that I measured at 43 °.
If you have heating or air conditioning, this temperature is easy to regulate. But if you left the windows open on a warm Texas summer afternoon, or with a spotlight in Brooklyn, the conditions for butter are likely not ideal, sorry. Keep your butter in the refrigerator door (that’s the warmest part) and take it out for about an hour before you need to spread it out.
Step 3: consider how often you use butter
I go through a piece of butter every three days on average, which means every container will work (see step 4). If you don’t use butter that often, you’ll need a container with an airtight seal so the butter doesn’t pick up flavors floating in the kitchen. My heroes at Cook’s Illustrated to explain that the high fat content in butter makes it prone to ingestion; That $ 5 keeper was their winner. Even so, I didn’t notice any flavors of butter in my less than airtight container, which was left out for a week. I think it depends pretty much on a couple of factors (what you are cooking, where the butter is relative to the stove, how much you are a super taster …).
Step 4: choose a container
Calder Dairy sold near me these cow-printed tubs Overflowing with 1 pound of butter. The tub is your built-in butter holder. One look at the counter makes me happy. But that’s a lot of butter for a week.
If I had to create a Pinterest board with buttercups, this would include this pink “butter” box from Sur La Table, this minimalist butter box with butterwood that seems the perfect size for Trader Joe’s imported culture butterooo Jadeite!, or this $ 445 “Branch Finial” painted porcelain bowl fit for long-dead British monarchs. You have the choice. But avoid metal that Harold McGee says, can “accelerate fat oxidation” (oxidation = what causes foods to break down, like apples that turn brown), especially in salted butter.
So if you feel like trading, buy a handcrafted one beautiful little butter holder, but remember that it is just a container with a lid. And I bet you have some of these.