Finding yourself baking more these days and wanting your hand to get in the dough and hear the symphony from the sound of your bread’s crust? This article might just help to understand better How to soften butter in 10 minutes and path the way to a successful baking experience for you.
You cannot really escape from butter when it comes to baking. It is, unsurprisingly, an integral part and a familiar ingredient for an immense of baked goods. Certain recipes will call specifically, for softened butter. As such, it is key for you have the butter prepped before you start the recipe.
Yet, we are all humans. There is only so much we can remember in a day, some of us do not even remember what we had for dinner last night or the shirt we were wearing too. Talk about being forgetful, right? You can guess where I am going with this sentiment. Most of us just forget to bring our butter to room temperature first, sometimes, we do not even have the time to do so. Frustrating, really. We try to make up for it by popping the butter in a microwave to melt it, but then it gets too melted than what we want. And when butter gets too melted, it makes it hard to mix in the sugar with the butter to have them cream properly resulting in cookies over-spreading, dense cakes, overflowing cupcakes, and flat muffins. That does not sound all too pleasant now, does it?
So, let us get a better understanding of why we need to soften butter.
Why softened butter?
There is a well-founded reason some recipes call for butter to be at room temperature or have it in a softened consistency. You see, butter is a type of solid fat. It holds in air, and the creaming process is such when the butter traps that air. What this does in the baking process is that through heat, the trapped air then expands to produce a fluffy baked good. It is worthwhile noting that room temperature ingredients bond together easily as they are warmer—this creates a batter that is seamless and evenly textured.
So, what we have understood so far is that a smooth batter with trapped air results in an even textured and proper tasting pastry. A softened butter makes it easier for other ingredients to mix and distribute evenly with it. Meanwhile, cold ingredients simply do not emulsify together. All that does is a result of frostings that are too clumpy, cheesecakes that are chunky, cakes that are overly dense, breads that are miserably flat, and muffins that are too oily. In short, a nightmare for home bakers.
Does it take long for butter to soften?
Taken straight out from the refrigerator, a cold solid stick of butter can be about 4.4ºC. The amount of time it takes to soften a solid stick depends on the room temperature. For a 4-ounce stick, it can range from 1 to 2 hours for it to soften. Of course, where you place it too plays a role in its melting speed. Placing it on a windowsill where there is sunshine or close to a warm oven brings different results. What is most important is to ensure that your butter does not completely melt into a liquid state. By then, you would have lost its air-trapping ability rendering it impossible for your baked good to turn out successfully.
But wait, what exactly is ‘room temperature’?
Sometimes you will come across instructions that tell you to soften butter to ‘room temperature.’ Such temperature ranges from 20ºC to 22ºC. The tough news is this range fluctuates drastically in your home. This means you should check your thermostat reading or instant-read thermometer in your kitchen, after about 30 seconds of waiting for the reading to show up.
How to test when butter is properly softened.
Stick the probe of an instant-read thermometer in the center of the butter. Another way to test if the butter is softened is to poke your finger onto its surface, doing so should leave a slight indent without sticking to your finger.
Soften the butter in 10 minutes.
Are you having a recipe that requires softened butter, but it slipped your mind, or are you just realizing it is something you need right now? Do not sweat it. Here is an approach to soften your butter in no time.
Get your chunky butter out of the refrigerator. Cut the butter into cubes and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Cutting the butter into small chunks means allowing making everything soften at a faster rate. Logically, the smaller pieces are going to take less time to soften than a whole stick of butter. Just have them cut into small cubes or ½-inch pieces, or even smaller than that if you are desiring for quicker results. This method increases the temperature by about 5 to 10 degrees. Let it sit on the counter until the desired temperature is reached.
Buttercream? We have Rich’s Bettercreme
Now that you have learned how to soften your butter quickly, we want to let you in on something good. While you can make your own buttercream with butter and other ingredients, we have something that saves you the hassle of making your own from scratch. Our Rich’s Bettercreme is a unique icing and filling, and a great alternative to conventional buttercream. Read on about it here.
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s tip. If you wish you had learned about this tip earlier, what I can say is, ‘Hey, butter late than never!’ Nothing brings people together quite like tasty food. The aromas and flavors; the shared enjoyment of every mouthful and seeing the smile on the faces we love, it is beautiful. If you like what you are reading so far, feel free to explore our recipes and products for more inspiration—start sharing your favorite food moments with us.