You decide to squeeze in some baking when you realize: uh-oh, the butter is rock hard and you don’t have enough time to wait for it to come down to room temperature so you can work with it.
Here are a few easy ways to fix the problem fast and soften it so you can get right back to baking:
- Grate it into a bowl with a cheese grater, it will come down to room temp sooner than being left solid in block form. Good technique for a brick that is still frozen.
- Cut a square off in the amount that you need then microwave it in a bowl for a few seconds at a time. You’ll need to watch carefully, it will melt fast at a certain point.
- Keep the foil wrapping on the brick then place on a plate or bowl. Since you’ll be preheating the oven, the stove top should be warm. Set the plate on the stove and check in about 5 minutes.
- Cut into small squares then place in a glass bowl. Fit the glass bowl into a pan filled with warm (not hot) water. The warm temperature will heat the glass bowl enough to quicken the process.
- Arrange the amount you need on a small plate. Take a glass bowl that will fit over the plate and fill it with boiling hot water. Let the water sit for a couple minutes to heat the bowl. Dump the water and fit the heated bowl over the plate. After a few minutes you should be ready to go.
- Beat or cream with a mixer.
- Slide the hard brick into a Ziploc bag, seal it closed then put the bag into a bowl of warm to hot water. Check after 7 minutes or so.
- Make thinner strips that will soften up quickly by using a butter curler or vegetable peeler. First heat the blade under hot water then drag deeply across the block to make strips.
Good to Know:
For best results when creaming, butter should be soft and between 65° and 68°. Here’s a quick tip: Press your finger in the brick and if it pushes in easily and holds the indentation, the temperature is about right. You can also use a food thermometer to test the temp…stick it in the middle of the block to get an accurate reading.
For best results it should be at room temp. when baking, this is necessary so that more air can get into the batter while being mixed.
Butter freezes really well, I like to stock up when it goes on sale (watch flyers just before the holiday seasons–Christmas, Thanksgiving & Easter), that’s usually when they’re at the lowest price. I’ll take a block out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to slowly thaw or when still frozen, I’ll use the cheese grater trick mentioned above.
Love the butter curl idea, never thought of doing that. To soften a stick of butter, I toss it in the microwave for about 15 seconds on 50% power. The lower power keeps it from melting the outside and allows the inside to soften as well.
I’ve ever put such hard butter block in a closed nylon bag, then dip it into a bowl of warm water, it worked out.
Microwave – I use power setting 2 (20%) in my 1000 watt oven for 4 seconds to soften the bottom of the butter in my butter dish enough to spread easily on bread.
Because I usually use butter for baking, I put the butter into a ceramic/glass mixing bowl, put it on top of the stove, and then preheat the oven. It softens quickly.