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Can you make brown butter ahead of time?

fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 10:10 AM

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. babette feasts RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 10:28 AM

    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
      fldhkybnva RE: babette feasts Sep 23, 2013 12:57 PM

      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. JungMann RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 10:32 AM

      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. biondanonima RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 11:12 AM

        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
          fldhkybnva RE: biondanonima Sep 23, 2013 12:58 PM

          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
            buttertart RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 03:15 PM

            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
              fldhkybnva RE: buttertart Sep 23, 2013 03:25 PM

              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. r
          rainey RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 03:30 PM

          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
            fldhkybnva RE: rainey Sep 23, 2013 03:37 PM

            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
              rainey RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 05:17 PM

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

          2. j
            jaykayen RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 10:14 PM

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: jaykayen
              fldhkybnva RE: jaykayen Sep 24, 2013 05:07 AM

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

            2. p
              Puffin3 RE: fldhkybnva Sep 24, 2013 06:32 AM

              There is a debate whether to use salted butter or unsalted butter.

              1. s
                suzymb RE: fldhkybnva Sep 25, 2013 11:46 AM

                I just made brown butter on Monday. I was shooting a CHOW Tip about how you can make brown butter in the microwave. I put the brown butter in an air tight container and let it sit out at room temperature. Tuesday night I threw the solidified brown butter in the microwave for a few seconds to re-liquify it to use to make brown butter buttercream. After re-liquifying it, it looked and tasted just like it did when I originally made it. And the buttercream was identical to an earlier batch I made right after browning butter.

                The texture of the room temperature solidified brown butter was the same as when I've stored brown butter in the fridge (grainy).

                I have to say, ever since I've started making brown butter using the microwave (thank you Christina Tosi!) I always just make it in the moment now.

                3 Replies
                1. re: suzymb
                  fldhkybnva RE: suzymb Sep 25, 2013 12:21 PM

                  Do you have a link to the microwave method? so your suggestion is make it, let it cool at room temperature, then store?

                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                    suzymb RE: fldhkybnva Oct 3, 2013 04:10 PM

                    Here is a link to the microwave method.

                    And yes, if making it ahead, make it, let it cool to room temp, then store. I've only made it brown butter ahead when using it for baking (where texture hasn't been an issue because I needed to reliquify it).

                    1. re: suzymb
                      buttertart RE: suzymb Oct 6, 2013 09:14 AM

                      That method is freaking brilliant.

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