Saturday, April 21, 2012

How To: Brown Butter

I'll be the first to admit - I don't use a whole lot of butter in my everyday cooking. Paula Deen may be upset with me. Sorry Paula, I still hope you love me anyways. Baking is another story though. Lots of butter there, but that is necessary. At least I think so.

I've never ever ever cooked with, let alone made brown butter. Or as the French say, beurre noisette. Ya, I can't pronounce that. I'm sure it sounds pretty though. Brown butter fell into my lap several weeks ago when one of my co-workers ordered a cake from me for her daughter's baby shower. I am going to keep the kind of cake I made a secret until I reveal the whole recipe, but let me just say it contains brown butter. Lots of rich, dark, nutty brown butter.

I was a little nervous to make brown butter because after all the research I did (I must have studied that darn cake recipe for a week!), everyone said that brown butter turns from beautiful to burnt in a matter of seconds. I was afraid that if I turned around for just a second that I would have a disaster on my hands. Well, lets just say, making brown butter is easy and is not as scary as I thought. All you do is place your butter (as much or as little as you want) in a pan over medium heat and let it do its thing. After all the butter is melted it will start to foam up - this is good. Swirl the butter around a bit to make sure it's browning evenly. Once the foaming begins the butter will start to brown and you should begin to see this on the bottom of the pan. You will also see bits there too. Don't get rid of those bits at the end, save them. That's where all the flavor is! From start to finish, browning butter takes about 15 minutes. Depending on the pan and how high or low your heat is, this could take longer. Just watch it and when it gets deep tan and you can smell it (your nose knows), place it in a small (non metal) bowl to cool.

You can use this amazing butter in baking, in sauces or even in ice cream. Yes, I went there. Ice cream.  Brown butter ice cream. So sinfully delicious it's not even funny. I will show you that recipe soon too.  Brown butter might just be my new favorite thing.


starting to melt

melted butter

starting to foam!

there is brown butter under there, I swear.

browned butter!

I used a dark non stick pan for this and had no problems knowing when the butter was perfectly brown. Some cookbooks state that using a metal or light bottom pan is best, but as long as you tend to it and don't walk away for long periods of time, you will be fine. I am a strong advocate for using what you have in your kitchen tool stock - no need to get a special pan just for this. Now that's just crazy!

1 comment:

  1. This is the most useful page I've found on browning butter. The pictures let you know what to expect as they guide you through the process, and now I have the confidence that I can make beurre noisette without burning it; and I don't have to worry about buying a stainless steel pan just to make a bit of sauce. Thank you, Stracciatella. - Jeannie