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Sep 23, 2013 10:10 AM

Can you make brown butter ahead of time?

I have always wanted to try brown butter, in particular as a simple steak topper. Last night, I did manage to perfectly brown the butter without burning and it smelled fantastic. I stored it in the fridge, though later it didn't work out so well when I attempted to top the steak with it. Is there a good way to make and store ahead of time or should it just be made at the time it's going to be used?

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  1. How did it not work out?

    I make big batches of brown butter all the time for various pastry uses.

    1 Reply
    1. re: babette feasts

      Oh right, the important part...oops, I apologize. Well from what I read online it's not clarified per se so you don't strain the browned bits necessarily. It seemed they all fell to the bottom and the butter hardened into a very strange consistency such that it wasn't really the taste or smell of brown butter when I attempted to use it.

    2. What was the problem with your stored brown butter? So long as it is stored in an airtight container, you should be able to keep brown butter in the refrigerator for weeks. If you want to liquify the solid brown butter, you will need to do so slowly so as to not further cook or burn the butter.

      1. You can store it but it develops a weird, grainy texture when it resolidifies. It doesn't matter if you're going to remelt it or use it in pastry/baking, but it definitely doesn't make a good spread or topping, unless that texture appeals to you.

        3 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          In addition to the browned bits falling to the bottom, this was also my issue. It hardened into a strange mass which just didn't seem right making it not work well as a topping as you mention.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Wouldn't it reliquefy? I like the texture of the hardened state in baking, particularly in Heidesand, a German sand cookie that calls for it.

            1. re: buttertart

              It would but I didn't plan to use the entire thing at once so wanted to just be able to cut off slices just as I would with butter.

        2. Have you tried stirring it over ice while it cools?

          I must say I haven't tried this with browned butter ('cause it's just so easy to do when you want it) but I have reconstituted the outrageous drippings from Zuni Chicken by stirring it and keeping everything in suspension as it solidifies.
          What I get is a semi-hardened spreadable product I can keep in a jar.

          I'm expecting browned butter would work the same way even if it doesn't have the same amount of vegetable juices in it.

          BTW, if anyone does Zuni Chicken I highly recommend preserving those drippings. They're wonderful for sautéing veggies and potatoes and just as wonderful spread on warm toast.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rainey

            Hmm, that might work. Perhaps I'll try that or just spend 5 minutes making it when I need it.

            I am quite interested to hear about you approach to the Zuni drippings. I love that bird and in fall and winter usually make it at least every other week. It'd be great to save all that goodness. You pour off the juices and then just stir over ice?

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Yup! It's very very delicious stuff and far too good to waste a single drop!

          2. you can just leave it in a closed container at room temperature for awhile.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jaykayen

              Or that! Probably a simple solution, thanks. This might also prevent the solids from falling out so quickly as it cools in the fridge.