There are usually a few essential ingredients to start baking. Flour is one of…
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Do you know what does “room temperature butter” in recipes mean? Read on to find out what this mean and why it is so important in baking.
What is Room Temperature Butter?
“Room temperature butter” or “softened butter” is commonly found in many recipes. Do you find yourself confused over this term? Like, do we want the butter to be firm, or do we want it to be really soft?
In our hot weather in Singapore, butter tend to soften really quickly. Sometimes before we know it, we might just get a messy puddle of butter as we leave it at room temperature for too long.
For many recipes, especially for cakes, it is important for the butter to be softened well enough before we cream it. If the butter is not softened enough, the texture of the cake might be drier and heavier as the batter did not emulsify well. On the other hand, if we leave the butter overly softened, we may get dense layers in our butter / pound cakes.
Why Do We Need Room Temperature Butter?
Recipes that uses butter mostly start with creaming butter and sugar. This creaming process allows the butter to create and hold pockets of air, which will expand from the heat in the oven. This makes soft, fluffy baked goods!
Room temperature ingredients can emulsify together easily, and that allows for a homogeneous batter that is evenly mixed. Cold ingredients are not able to emulsify as well as room temperature ingredients, which may explain why we get heavier or oily texture in bakes sometimes.
How Does Room Temperature Butter Looks Like?
Contrary to what we commonly perceive for room temperature butter, the butter should be about 18C – 20C. This means that the butter will still be slightly cool to touch.
Most of the time, since butter soften really quickly in Singapore, I would measure the amount of butter for the recipe first – cut them into smaller pieces. Then, set the butter aside while I measure other ingredients, grease/line my pans and on my oven for preheat.
By the time I have done the above, the butter is usually softened well enough for creaming (roughly around 10 – 15 mins).
If you are in cold countries, the time needed to soften the butter on counter-tops should be around 1 – 2 hours.
>> MORE BAKING BASICS:
Always Check For Softened Butter
I always check the butter before creaming it. You can use your finger to lightly press against the butter to check. It should leave an indentation on the butter, while you feel some resistance from the butter. The butter should also feel slightly cool.
If your finger sinks too easily into the butter and, at the same time, the butter gives way, then it is too soft. You might need to refrigerate it slightly and try again.
However, if you notice the sides of the butter pieces melting, then it might be a better bet to use a new batch of butter, to ensure a successful bake.
I hope this will be helpful in your next successful bake! Drop your comment below if you may still have questions on room temperature butter!