Dear Ali: How Can We Make Real Butter More Spreadable?

February 20th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Dear Ali

A very good friend of mine left a question on Facebook last week about butter and if there was some way to make it more spreadable.

Dear Ali,

I have started using “real” butter because someone has opened my eyes to the benefits of it.

(and really, I didn’t need much pushing. Here, eat this creamy tastiness! OK!)

Any tips on how to make it more spreadable? I know some people leave it out on a butter plate thing, but since it’s just me and my man, we don’t use that much butter and seems like it would go bad before we used it all.

To answer this question, the first thing I wanted to know was how long can butter sit out before it goes rancid?

The California Milk Advisory Board says that butter can be kept at room temperature for “short periods of time”, and wikipedia is slightly more helpful with answer of “several days“.  Another site says you can leave butter out for 10 days without spoiling.

So whether you choose “a short period of time”, several days or 10 – there was one thing everybody seemed to agree on when it comes to leaving butter out of the refrigerator:

Protecting your butter from air and light will help it stay fresh longer.

If you don’t use a lot of butter at your house, it sounds like you should be able leave a couple tablespoons out at a time in a small, plastic opaque storage container with a tight fitting lid.  A regular butter dish seems like it would be fine too, though not air tight, and in that case you might only choose a butter dish if you move through butter in a “short period of time”.

My favorite solution though is something that I’d never heard of until I went looking for an answer to this question – an adorable piece of kitchenware called a french butter dish.

Butter Bell Crock

Also known as a butter bell, a butter crock, or a butter keeper.

Whatever you want to call it, here’s how it works:

You put a little water into the base of the crock and pack the other piece with soft butter.

Butter Bell Diagram

The water forms airtight seal helping to preserve your butter at room temperature,

French Butter Dish

and TA DA!  Soft and spreadable butter without the worry that it’s going to go bad if you leave it out of the fridge.

Stuffed with Butter

I learned that butter can be kept for a MONTH when stored this way – so long as you change the water every couple days and keep your French butter dish it in an area that stays below 80 F.

And with that, please take note of the new item on my counter top.

Butter Keeper Counter

It says not to store it near the stove or other “heat generating” appliances – I haven’t had an issue with this distance from the stove, but I can always slide it away or move it from the counter completely if I felt it was getting too warm.

With my butter dish research I have concluded:

1.  This works great!

I’d been keeping our butter in the fridge, but I must admit that I LOVE having soft butter on hand and use it every day.

2.  We use a lot of butter here.  

My butter keeper holds 1 stick of butter.  Between cooking eggs, buttering toast and sauteing vegetables (plus some homemade corn bread that we just had on the side with chili for dinner) we seem to work through a stick of butter in less than a week.  Good thing butter is a healthy fat.  I really like having soft butter on hand and ready to go.

Spread the Butter Love (with a giveaway!)

Now I must tell you that my sweet little butter keeper was a gift from my very sweet friend who asked the soft butter question.  She went out and bought a French butter dish for herself, and then she surprised me with one too so we could both try it out!

And I totally love it.  I love it so much that I want to keep the butter lovin’ rolling – I want to give away a French butter dish to one of you too!

If you’re a butter lover and you’d like to be entered in to this little giveaway (either for yourself or maybe to give to a friend!) comment on this post with the words “I love butter!” and I’ll randomly pick a winner and update this post with the winner on Friday, February 22, 2013.

This giveaway is closed as of 2/22/13 7:54 AM EST

The random number generator from gave me #9!

The 9th entry came from Hilary who said:

I love butter!!! Probably a little too much!

Me too, Hilary.  Me too.

Whether you want a French butter keeper or not, I’d love to know how you make butter more spreadable.  Please share your butterly wisdom with us!

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