Brown Butter - Why and How
Brown butter ... why did I wait so long to meet you?
Brown butter is a way to incorporate an extra layer of flavour in your baking, and it is super simple to make!
Brown butter I created by melting butter and letting it simmer gently on the stove until it reaches a golden brown colour and has an unmistakable nutty/caramel aroma. Seriously someone needs to make a perfume based on brown butter - it would be a hit.
In classic French culinary terms, brown butter is called buerre noisette and can be used to make a variety of savoy sauces and this was the first way I used it - as the base for a sage-butter pasta sauce (insert chef's kiss here). But then I came across Broma Bakery's recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies using brown butter rather than the typical method of creaming the butter...game changer! Since then I have used browned butter in cookies, cakes, breads and even Rice Krispie treats (trust me, totally worth it)!
Melted Butter vs Brown Butter
So how exactly do you create brown butter? In a few easy steps and one ingredient this versatile ingredient will become a staple in your kitchen!
You can use salted or unsalted, but I always defer to what the original recipe suggested. Cutting it into pieces before adding it to your pan will mean an even melt. Room temperature butter is best, but if you (like me) occasionally forget, start it out at a low temp to avoid any scorching or splattering.
Light Coloured Pot- a light coloured pot will help you to see when the colour starts to change - remember we are looking to brown the butter, not burn it. You will want a medium size to allow for the foaming that will occur as the butter cooks. Too small of a pot may result in your butter bubbling over.
Rubber Spatula - this is my preference for this task - it allows you to scape right to the edges of the pot so nothing gets stuck or burnt.
Add your butter pieces to the pan over medium heat.
Using a rubber spatula, continually stir the butter, being sure to scrape the bottom and edges of the pot.
Gradually the butter will begin to foam and bubble - keep stirring!
The foam will begin to disolve and you will be able to see the bottom of your pot again. This is the crucial point in the process!
Keep stirring and watching the bottom for small brown specks to begin to form immediately remove the butter from the heat.
Pour the brown butter into a heat-proof container (I use mason jars) and allow to cook to the temp recommended in your recipe. I always scrape the brown bits into the butter as I like the taste, but certain sauce recipes may recommend straining them out.
Cool the butter to the temp recommended in your recipe.
Storage - Brown Butter can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks. If you need to liquify it before using it warm it gently to avoid burning it.
Subbing In - Brown Butter can be substituted into many recipes, but it won't always be a 1:1 replacement. It will depend on your recipe's dry ingredient ratio and may take some experimentation. I find cookies are the easiest to start your trials with.
Quantity -If you recipe calls for 1 cup of brown butter, please note that this is the after browning quantity. As there will be some evaporation while browning you will want to take this into consideration and adjust your starting amount accordingly.