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Butter Keeper

  • Monica Feb 28, 2007 12:11 PM

I think they look so cute with a little bell shaped cone. I am not sure if I will use it but I think i am going to buy a few.
Do you guys use it? Can I really leave in room temperature even in summer?

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  1. I have one of the bell-shaped ones, but have recently replaced it with a sort of boat-shaped on that keeps the butter from touching the water. Water in contact with butter = spoilage, even if you change the water every day. And no, even in our air-conditioned house, the butter bell did not do a good job of keeping the butter from spoiling during the dog days of summer.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      I'm not under the impression you're supposed to fill the crock so high with water and the bell so full of butter that the water comes in contact with the butter. I thought the rim of the bell makes contact with the water to form a seal, which keeps the air out. You can actually feel the suction of the seal pop when you pull the bell out of the crock. But, as long as the bell isn't completely filled with butter, the butter doesn't touch the water.

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Actually, my apologies, I'm wrong above--you are indeed supposed to have the butter touch the water, or remain very close to the water, otherwise, too much oxygen can get trapped in the bell, thus defeating the purpose of the bell in the first place. In fact, they recommend you top off your bell with butter frequently enough to ensure there always remains enough butter in the bell to minimize the amount of oxygen trapped in the bell.

        If you're having mold issues, they suggest (see especially the first link) switching brands of butter or putting salt in the water. They also say that before refrigeration, dairy farmers used to store their butter completely submerged in water to keep it fresh. So the water shouldn't be an issue if you're changing it regularly.

        They say you need to keep it out of direct sunlight and that they stop working when the temps hit 90 degrees and, at that point, you have to put the whole bell in the fridge.

        http://www.frenchbutterdish.com/FAQ.htm

        http://itotd.com/articles/215/french-...

        I still love my butter keeper--it keeps the butter soft enough to spread without having the butter be messy or spoiled. And, at winter temps anyway, we've never had a problem with it. I've had mold only once and I think that's because food bits got in the butter. The mold formed almost immediately (i.e., practically overnight) so, it was very clear that something specific had gone awry.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I never worry about the water touching the butter. We all know water and fat won't mix, so the water isn't going to penetrate the butter. Any water on the surface when you take the butter out will just bead up and roll off.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Yep, it's true, the water just beads up.

            ~TDQ

      2. re: pikawicca

        I prefer the butter boat as well. Found it on eBay - luckily a plain white one, and not the decorated ones.

      3. We leave butter out all year round, okay so it doesn't often get that unbearable temperature wise around here, but it can have its moments and apart from being a little soft some mornings it is fine as far as I can tell.

        1. I had one and had no problems with spoilage but I just found it cumbersome. I donated it and went back to my regulat butter dish. We go through enough of it so that spoilage is never an issue.

          1. Unless I am using it, I always keep butter refrigerated. We go through about 4 sticks every 2 weeks. When I have guests I pull out the butter dish, otherwise I usually have 2 sticks on a small dish in the fridge. I also have about 2-3 sticks unsalted butter, and 2-3 sticks of regular butter in reserve. Always Land O' Lakes Butter

            11 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              Always (unless TJ's are out) Kerrygold Irish butter. Have to say I am yet to develop a taste for american butter - not creamy enough for me.

              1. re: rob133

                interesting, do you know if they sell this brand anywhere else but T.J's? I do not shop at T.J's.

                Also how is this irish butter for cooking?

                1. re: swsidejim

                  I'm not sure, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't available at a British store, maybe even Cost Plus - I've never really looked for it in either, but I'm sure it is.

                  1. re: rob133

                    ill have to check it out, i am always willing to try something different. thanks for the tip.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I can buy Kerrygold in my neighborhood Kroger

                  2. re: swsidejim

                    You can buy Kerrygold @ Publix.

                2. re: swsidejim

                  Your post is kind of missing the point. The purpose of using a butter bell is to keep your butter at room temperature for ease of use. The butter bell keeps it from getting too hot (although I've left it in the direct sun and come back to water with melted butter in it!) and protects it from going rancid by reducing exposure to oxygen. If you don't want to keep your butter at room temp, there's no reason to use a butter bell.

                  That said, sometimes when I don't want to bother with the butter bell I just leave my butter out. My house (in the SF area) stays pretty cool, and the butter is fine on the counter for several days or longer (depending on how fresh it was to begin with).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    my response states that i would never leave butter out of the fridge unless I was using it, butter bell or not.

                    I think it is kind of gross to keep butter unrefridegerated. Why do you think it is shipped and stored in refridgerated conditions?

                    the above statement is my humble opinion.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      You're welcome to your opinion, but I will politely disagree. Butter is an ancient food that predates refrigeration by milennia. It doesn't *need* to be refrigerated. Of course, depending on the amibient temperature it will go rancid. Even then it's still not spoiled (in the sense it would make you ill), it just doesn't taste good. So so extend the life of its quality, it should be kept cool and contact with air should be minimized, which is why it's kept refrigerated before sale (not to mention our overly zealous food safety laws). But that's also what a butter bell does.

                      I'm not saying I don't keep my butter in the fridge -- of course I do! But I also keep small amounts (what I'm going to use within a few days) in a butter bell or even *gasp* just in its wrapper on the counter, so I have spreadable-temp butter available when I want it.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Totally agree. Butter, as a mainly saturated fat, goes rancid much less quickly than margarine, made from hydrogenated mono and poly unsaturated fats. Since the USDA and corn industry hoisted this incredibly dangerous stuff onto the american public starting mainly in the 20th century (where the growth of heart disease is directly in proportion to the growth of margarine and inversely porportional to the drop in butter usage), refrigeration has become the norm - it had to - the stuff wouldn't last otherwise. Dairy farmers always knew better - the rest of us are just getting back to the farm.

                        1. re: applehome

                          I think the reason it is kept refrigerated for shipping and store display is that otherwise it would soften and get bashed up and unsaleable. I store it long-term in the freezer, but also generally leave some out for typically a week or so and don't have any trouble with spoilage. Indeed, I have been thinking about getting a butter bell for that reason, but based on the comments above I think I'll hold off for a while.

                3. I love mine--here's a link to a previous post of mine on this same topic (it's not that riveting, nevertheless, here it is: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/362705

                  )

                  Our previous solution was to leave a stick of butter out, but I always felt it was too mushy and subject to spoilage. The butter keeper keeps the butter fresher and a little more firm. I change the water every couple of days. No big deal.

                  I haven't tried it in summer yet...

                  ~TDQ

                  1. My grocery store sells Kerrygold. Nice. Not thrilling, but nice.

                    I pull out 4 oz at a time from the fridge and put it in a butter dish. It's gone in a couple of days and never has the opportunity to go bad.

                    1. Buy a FEW?? How much butter do you use?

                      We have a butter bell, and as long as we keep bread crumbs and the like out of the butter, it works just fine. We normally put about half a stick at a time in it, which lasts about a week.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ricepad

                        LOL call me crazy but I think they are adorable to look at.
                        BTW, I only use a bit of butter on the weekend on my toast. otherwise, I hardly use it.

                      2. I used to be fascinated with a butter bell, and had one that I used. It kept the butter just soft enough for spreading.

                        But then I discovered the magic of thinly sliced, cold, fresh sweet butter! Now the good butter not only has taste, but a texture. Somehow the sweetness of the creme is accented when it is cold and thin. Instead of butter bell, I use a sharp knife and slice the top of the butter stick lengthwise to get a nice thin long strip.

                        Now I can't go back to tasteless room temperature mushy spreadable butter on my bread

                        It's just not the same. ...

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: HLing

                          "Now I can't go back to tasteless room temperature mushy spreadable butter on my bread"

                          Maybe it's your butter. Try some Euro-style butter with a higher fat content, you'll never go back to tasteless US butter. Some good brands: Beurre D'Isigny, Lurpak, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Cremdore. And make sure you're using salted butter for spreading at the tabletop - there is a big difference in taste.

                          1. re: applehome

                            Actually I only eat the Euro-style butter: Luprak, Beurre D'Isigny, Celles Belle, Kerrygold..Haven't liked the Plugra as much. I bake with the Vermont "home made" Kate's butter.

                            I add sea salt (just don't use Hain's so call sea salt, as it still has the yucky anti-caking stuff and makes the food uningestable...bleh!) as I eat, I don't think pre-salted butter keeps the fresh taste of sweet butter.

                            I'm just saying that even, or might i say, especiall, with the good butter, there's something about the temperature and texture that adds to the experience for me. If I want something wetter, I dip it in good wholesome olive oil, like Iliada. Otherwise, it's cold butter for me!

                            1. re: HLing

                              I am totally w/you on this one. Love COLD THIN BUTTER PIECES ON MY FRESH BREAD..I have always said if I am stranded on a desert island I want a fresh loaf a bread and a COLD stick of butter. My boyfriend doesn't get the cold butter thing oh well.

                              1. re: keleiope

                                Glad to hear from someone who appreciates the same combination!

                                For me, it doesn't even have to be a desert island..I'm Chinese, and I was "stranded" in China with limited access to good bread AND butter. I found that I could eat rice and noodles everyday only for so long...and then I'd have to get them to drive me to a Country Club of some sort where there's a specialty grocery store and a limited western bakery.

                                1. re: keleiope

                                  Cold butter on fresh, as in warm, right out of the oven bread sounds fine. But spreading cold butter on room temp bread has always been frustrating to me, it doesn't spread evenly and I often tear holes in the slice.

                                  1. re: foodstorm

                                    instead of trying to spread the butter, I take a sharp knife and slice the cool butter thinly lengthwise across the top, so you get a nice long strip with the if it's a butter stick. With the European butter like Luprak you get an even wider piece when you slice over the top. I suppose "scalping" would be the term?
                                    This way the butter becomes an additional layer, with a nice texture.

                            2. re: HLing

                              I've recently seen a gadget in several cooking catalogs that is designed to shave thin shards of butter off of a stick.

                              1. re: pikawicca

                                I was trying to remember the name of a butter holder that i saw in the Atlanta Tradeshow this year. Not sure if it's the same as what you're thinking of, but I only remember that it stores the butter in a rectangular box and when opened the tray is lifted and pushed out...I don't remember any more details of this product though..

                                1. re: HLing

                                  It's not the same thing. I know the gizmo you're describing. The one I've seen lately looks kind of like a deformed vegetable peeler.

                            3. LOL thanks for tips. I ended up getting a butter dish from Le Crueset instead!.
                              maybe I will buy butter keepers when Paula Deans can convince me to eat more butter!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Monica

                                If Paula Deen can't convince you to eat more butter, I doubt anybody else could!

                              2. I've had my butter bell/keeper for over a year. In the summer I fill the bell with crushed ice and place the butter on top. It stays cooler and fresher that way. I change the water religiously and have had only one instance of mold spots forming. I love it; I wouldn't even think of serving a block of hard butter to my guests. Oh yeah, and I didn't leave it sitting out in the sun. I chose a cool spot on my kitchen counter.