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What's the Best Way to Soften Frozen Butter?

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Emergency baking sessions pop up -- don't let frozen butter stand in your way. 

Soften Frozen Butter on Food52

Baking treads a delicate balance between art and science. In order to maintain that balance, starting with ingredients in their truest-to-recipe form is of utmost importance -- sifted flour, separated egg whites, and room temperature butter. Achieving room temperature butter requires a bit of advance planning, and sometimes the need (or desire!) for an impromptu baking session arises. What's the best option if you haven't allotted the time to allow for natural butter thaw-age?

Luvcookbooks raised this question on the Hotline this week and our community responded with a variety of opinions on the best last-minute butter-thawing techniques:

  • PazzoNico and petitbleu both cut their frozen butter up into 1/2 inch pieces -- Petitbleu then uses a kitchen mixer with the paddle attachment and sugar to expedite the process.
  • Cream butter and sugar with your hands for an appliance-free approach from LucyS, the heat of your hands will help soften the butter.
  • Karen06 echoes a trick out of Amanda's arsenal and grates the butter.
  • The daring among us heed Peter's advice and soften the whole stick of butter in a bowl in the microwave for ten seconds at a time, turning it over after each interval -- remove the butter the second it starts to feel soft or you'll end up with warm butter soup.
  • A less risky option is to simply place the butter near the oven while you are preheating, as soojasaurus recommends.
  • Cut the stick of butter into thin slices, and spread the slices out on a cookie sheet. Peter explains that the metal cookie sheet is an excellent conductor of heat and therefore will draw the heat out of the butter quickly.

What do you think is the best way to soften frozen butter at a moment's notice? Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below so we can all keep getting our bake on! 

Photo by James Ransom

Tags: Butter, Bake, Community, Advice, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Your Burning Questions