Butter is an art, not a science. Cream or milk is churned—ferociously, lovingly—until it achieves the thick, spreadable consistency we love on toast, folded into cakes, or melted into shallots. Butter, that cornerstone of French cuisine, takes many forms. Like a chameleon, butter adapts to its surrounding temperature. In the freezer it is solid, icy even. In the fridge, butter stays stiff and shaped. Left on the counter, it achieves a level of cream that renders it perfect for slathering. And melted, in a pan or microwave or on the stove, butter is a silky golden liquid.
All forms of butter are worthwhile, some recipes even specify butter temperature to achieve certain textures. But it’s moving between these forms that proves difficult; any good chemist knows process is necessary to shift between states of matter. One transformation that leaves bakers consistently stumped is getting cold, hard butter soft enough to spread. We all know the feeling of pulling a dense stick of butter out of the fridge—or worse, the freezer—only to find it impossible to manipulate. Well, rest assured because this video hack is here to solve all your butter softening needs.
Like any good hack, the trick is simple enough. A warm cup creates a lightly heated environment and gets your butter going in mere moments. It’s a hack like this that hits the sweet spot, perfect for those never-knew-you-needed-it-until-you-did kinds of moments. So, go forth and give it a try because we’re not all lucky enough to have a butter keeper (yet).
Would you give this a whirl? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
This article was originally published in November 2017, but we're sharing it again for Thanksgiving!