Cooking

A Better Way to Butter

A quick tip for buttery baking prep
Illustration: Tasting Table

The hack: Does your baking recipe call for melted butter—and also instruct you to grease your dish? Take care of both at once while you're preheating the oven.

Why it works: We first learned this trick while watching Martha Stewart's Sarah Carey make this baked raspberry custard. It's simple, but it makes sense: You need to preheat the oven and you need melted butter for the custard batter, which gets baked in a greased dish. No, it doesn't take much to perform each task, but doing all three at once is an elegant economy of effort (and saves you at least one dish to wash).

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What to watch out for: There's but a hair's breadth between melted and browned butter, and an even more narrow distance between browned and scorched. And as Howard Hillman reminds us in The New Kitchen Science, scorching butter changes the character of the protein, which changes the nature of the recipe. And the only way to prevent this is to remove your melting butter from the oven before that happens. Oh, memory, most frail.

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