Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Soften Butter For Baking

For a baker ready to bake, waiting for butter to soften is like watching paint dry.

In fact, when we were kids my sister and I were home for the summer and my mother agreed to bake something the first thing we would do is go get the butter out of the refrigerator. And then we played the waiting game until it was softened.

In fact most baking recipes called for room temperature or softened butter. What's a working girl to do? We don't have time or the space on our to do list to plan these things out ahead of time. It takes everything I have to make sure my pantry is stocked.

So I developed an easy way to soften but not melt butter in the microwave. You take a stick of butter and put it in the microwave. And put it on 8 seconds. Then turn the stick of butter on the next side. Another 8 seconds. Continue to do this until you have done it on all sides. Depending on the microwave you might have to do 5 sides before its perfectly softened.

It may take up to 40 seconds but its better than a couple of hours.

Take that extra time to make out the rest of your to do list...And maybe an extra cup of coffee.


  1. I put it in the microwave on 20 percent power for 40 seconds

  2. Very cool. Is it sad that I still haven't figured out all the 20% - 50% settings on my microwave? Just makes my head hurt.

  3. I pop a packet in my dishwasher just after it's finished. It becomes room temperature in a couple of minutes, and no need to worry about the melting hazard if you forget to pay attention.

    Another trick I do is to heat up my metal mixing bowl using very hot water and then cut up the butter into small pieces into it.

    On the whole though I tend to leave a packet of salted and unsalted butter out of the fridge. The amount of baking and cooking I do means that it never goes off.

  4. I love this idea for the winter, when room temperature is just downright "cold." When it's a little warmer I have put the butter between two pieces of parchment paper and rolled it with a rolling pin. Suprisingly, it works.

    Thank you!

  5. I love this, I always do 10 but some of it melts maybe 8 us the magic number?

  6. or you can just run your mixer for a while that is what i am taught in my baking classes at Johnson & Wales University. And if its super cold, heat the sides of the bowl up with a torch (running it around the bottom of the bowl barely touching and always moving)

  7. The easy way I do it is like you are defrosting frozen meat but with hot water. I put the sticks in a ziploc bag & immerse into hot hot bowl of water. In about a minute they'll be perfectly ready. Hope that helps you as I hate waiting at the microwave to turn something!


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