The Simple Hack That'll Soften That Stick Of Butter In A Fraction Of The Time

Avid bakers know the importance of a stick of room-temperature butter. Yet for novice home chefs in the mood to make their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, prepping ingredients ahead of time requires a little too much advanced planning. Many crumb-filled recipes that require evenly tempered butter involve whipping this stable fat to create a silky, aerated texture in favorite cookies, cakes, and scones. But how many home chefs actually remember to take butter out of their refrigerators 30 to 60 minutes before they plan to bake?

Fortunately, you can speed up the softening process by cutting butter into small pieces after removing the amount you need from cold storage. In slicing butter ahead of time, not only will you be taking the first step toward evenly distributing the butter in your next recipe, but the extra air hitting those precious slices will also soften this golden fat in much less time. 

To ensure the butter is properly softened, all you need to do is feel this creamy spread with your finger. Malleable butter that can be pressed easily is what you're after. With a few strategic cuts, in a matter of minutes, you'll have a nice soft stick of butter ready to be transformed into a fresh batch of delicious treats. 

With two useful kitchen tools, you can soften butter in no time

Next to following the best tips for how to choose butter when baking, make sure the butter is at the right temperature before you start adding more ingredients to the mix. You may be surprised to discover that there are different ways to cut butter. And depending on the method you choose, the process of softening can take more or less time. The most simple, effective way is to first decide how much butter you need. Once it's been removed from cold storage, slice the intended portion into even pats with a sharp knife. After roughly 10 minutes, you should have perfectly softened butter.

If you're pressed for time, you can use your trusted box grater to shred butter finely. With this method, the butter should be softened effectively in just five minutes. (Just make sure to measure out the intended portions before cutting or grating.) 

While proportioning and cutting this golden spread is quite useful when it comes to saving time, if you want to test some alternative methods, there are a few unconventional softening techniques you may want to consider.

Creative ways to soften a stick of butter

Even though pre-cutting butter isn't complicated, you may be up for experimenting with different softening methods to determine which technique works best. Among the hacks that will transform the way you cook with butter, did you know you can soften this golden fat with just a simple glass of hot water? Placing a water glass emptied of hot water over an upright stick of butter ensures extra-soft results in a flash. For equally fast results, place cold butter between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and roll or smack the spread gently with a rolling pin. 

And if you're making snickerdoodles post-meal time, you may need a more hands-off approach. Simply place a stick of butter in a bowl on top of the stove as the oven preheats. The residual heat from the oven will gently soften the butter so that when dinner comes to a close, you're all set to make a fresh batch of cookies. 

Whichever method you decide to use, keep in mind that butter can become too soft. Ideally, softened butter should still be cool to the touch and fully intact. While these unconventional methods may work with a bit of trial and error, for a surefire way to bring butter to room temperature, utilize a sharp knife for quick and satisfactory results.