Often I will start cooking a recipe and realize that I have forgotten to allow my butter to become room temperature. Luckily I have a few tricks that I use to help remedy the situation. Below I have listed a few of my favorite butter softening techniques.
Refrigerated butter will take approximately 30-45 minutes to get to room temperature on the countertop. (Of course this depends on the temperature of your room.) Frozen butter will take a few hours to fully thaw.
Remember to measure the required amount of butter needed for your recipe before trying these softening tricks. It can be messy to try to measure afterwards.
My favorite way to quickly soften butter is to grate it. Grating works well for refrigerated or frozen butter. I usually grate the butter directly into the mixing bowl. You can also grate onto a plate or cutting board. Keep butter wrapper on and peel away as you go. The packaging will help keep your hands clean.
Some people recommend using a cheese plane to cut thin slices of butter. I found this more difficult than grating.
Take refrigerated butter and place between two sheets of waxed (or parchment) paper. Hold rolling pin handles with both hands and gently pound the butter evenly to flatten to 1/8 of an inch. Remove the butter from the paper before it becomes too soft.
Cut butter into small chunks and let sit at room temperature until the butter yields to light pressure.
HOT BOWL – Place refrigerated butter onto a plate. Find a bowl and fill with hot water. Allow the bowl to fully heat up. Pour out water and dry bowl. Invert bowl over the butter. Let sit for a few minutes.
CREAM - You can cream refrigerated butter. Chop up into small pieces and use a stand mixer or hand blender. Blend until soft.
MICROWAVE – Some recommend softening butter in the microwave, but I don’t. Heating butter in the microwave will alter the emulsion. I only use the microwave if my recipe calls for melted butter.