I either forget to take the butter out of the fridge hours before I start baking or our house is way to cold for it to become soft. Hard butter is not ideal for making icing – you end up with butter clumps. Last week I wanted to bake so I decided to Google how to soften butter. I came across Emma Christensen’s website, “The Kitchn” and she suggests the following three ways of softening butter;
- Cut the butter into small chunks: Small chunks soften much more quickly than the whole stick, especially if placed near the warming stove.
- Pound the butter: Put the butter in a Zip lock bag and use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten the butter. This softens the butter while still keeping it cool. A few minutes on the counter and the butter will be up to room temperature.
- Set the butter over a warm water bath if you’re in a real hurry. Pour a few cups of very hot (just below boiling) water into a double boiler or a sauce pan with a metal bowl nested inside. Put the butter over the water bath and allow to soften. Keep an eye on it so the butter doesn’t start to melt.
I used option 1 and 3 – first I cut the butter up into small chunks and then put it over a warm water bath. Both methods worked really well.
I also discovered that when a recipe says that you must use softened butter they mean when the butter can be squished between your fingers. I always thought it meant it wasn’t super hard.
Do you have any helpful hints for softening butter?