the best baking tip ever.

We keep our house cold in the winter.  We have oil heat and that gets expensive really quickly.  The wood stove in the living room helps a lot, but our house is still significantly colder than what most people would consider normal.

So what does this have to do with baking?  Well, it’s impossible for me to soften butter in the winter.

For years, I just forged ahead and used my stand mixer to beat the crap out of it, but I know that’s not really ideal.  Sometimes I would try placing it near a burner on the stove and hope I remembered to rotate it so it didn’t melt.  My most recent attempts involved balancing sticks of butter on the hooves above the wood stove.  This definitely worked, but it meant that I could only bake on days that we had a fire going.

And then I found the best baking tip ever.

 Softening Butter

Place your butter in a zip lock bag.  Put your bag of butter in a bowl.  Fill the bowl with hot tap water.  Wait roughly 5 minutes, flipping the butter over halfway through.

Perfectly softened butter every single time.

I’m not exactly sure where I read this tip.  It’s one of those things I read about a long time ago and never tried, but managed to keep it filed away in the back of my mind.  This saved my butt during my holiday baking extravaganza and has now become my best baking tip ever for all of us slackers that never want to soften butter properly.

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15 Responses to the best baking tip ever.

  1. Kay says:

    Yep…I’ll definitely be using this one. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Leanna R says:

    if you grate or shred, it’s immediately softened

  3. Patricia N> says:

    I leave my butter in the wrapper on a microwavable plate. Pop it in the microwave at 50% for 30 second intervals until softened to the extent that I want and that’s it. This way I don’t waste energy heating up my stove.

    • That used to be my go-to option, but we don’t own a microwave! Until I found this trick, I was contemplating buying one just for softening butter.

      • emily says:

        The only thing I miss about not having a microwave is butter softening for baking and butter melting for popcorn. Thanks for the tip! In the winter I make a lot of olive oil cakes to avoid the butter problem.

  4. Sandi says:

    Whoa — great idea although in the winter we always have a fire going in the woodstove as it is our only source of heat, but I never thought of using it to soften things. I’m gonna try that too!

    • The woodstove was a great trick for when I planned ahead. We have a set of mounted hooves about 4 feet above the stove, so I would rest things on that – butter, nutella, whatever – and as long as I rotated them, it worked like a charm. But I’m super impatient, and a lot of my baking tends to be spur of the moment, so this trick has saved my life!

  5. Alanna says:

    Great tip! Found your blog via Food in Jars and I’m digging it. Looking forward to reading more!

  6. Beth says:

    Better tip is fill a bowl with hot water,let it sit a minute or so empty ,dry out and slice the butter into chunks put in the bowl and the residual heat will soften the butter.

  7. Pingback: Links: Citrus, Bread, and a Butter Softening Tip - Food in Jars | Food in Jars

  8. Pingback: Vol 5, Original Issue Dates: June 10, 2012 – May 5, 2013 | Thrifty Sisters Living

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