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How to Cream Butter Right

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

 

— Pablo Picasso

Whenever I hired someone new at RylieCakes I always showed them how to cream butter and sugar.  It may seem rudimentary but knowing how to cream butter correctly is vital to any pastry chef’s survival.

Creaming butter is like learning to crawl.  Once you learn to crawl, you can learn to walk, and then eventually run.  If you are anything like me, you run like a total dork but hey, you can still run!!

If you can cream butter properly, your career in pastries is endless.  You will be able to bake 3-tiered cakes in your sleep, whip up cookies for a get-together in an instant, and toss muffins in the oven before anyone in your house even wakes up!  On top of that, you’ll start to get a feel for where you can bend the rules and make baking an art of your own.

Creaming Butter is a science; doing so properly incorporates air into your batter, which acts as a leavener when baking.

Simply said, not as easily done.

I found this video and article from Serious Eats and had an automatic “Mic Drop” moment.  This video is PERFECT!!  I couldn’t have done it better myself in a million years.  And I find it so brilliant that they used food coloring to show the butter lightening up and getting fluffier!!  I so wish I had thought of that years ago when training my employees!

It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears – the butter cannot be too soft or too hard, it must be just right!  And just right is about 67°F.

In the photos below you will see that butter straight out of the fridge is far too cold!  Not even a spoon can press into it.  The middle photo shows butter that is the perfect temperature – it had been sitting on my counter at room temp for 60 minutes and as you can see, my thumb easily made an imprint in it.  Keep in mind though, the time butter needs to sit out adjusts with the temperature of your house/the temperature outside.  The last photo is the most common mistake I see in baking, microwaving the butter to speed up the process.  This is a a no-no every single time.

 

In King Arthur’s blog, they really focus on how important the butter’s temperature is.   They have step by step photos of what it looks like when creaming butter with too soft, too hard, and just right butter.  It is definitely worth the read.  Though this might seem like a silly detail, it matters!!  Oh boy, does it matter!

The Five Steps to Creaming Butter Right:

  1. Make sure butter is the correct temperature – about 67°F.

  2. Beat on medium speed in an electric mixer for approximately two minutes.

  3. Scrape sides of the bowl thoroughly.

  4. Add sugar.

  5. Beat on medium speed for another two to three minutes until it is light, fluffy, and nearly doubled in size.*

*By “doubled in size” I mean you should visually be able to see the mixture grow up the sides of your bowl.

 

Creaming butter is an essential part of baking regardless of who you are or what you’re making.  Perfecting the art of creaming butter will change your world forever and ever in the most magnificent ways.

Think of a world where cakes are always light and fluffy, muffins moist and perfectly risen, and cookies that were chewy, thick, and evenly cooked around the edges every time… dreamy, right?!

Once you master this basic baking technique, your world will be filled with endless possibilities, as it should be!!

Lick the Bowl – You Only Live Once,

Tara Rylie

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