Can you really store butter OUT of the refrigerator?
Sometimes I see something in a cooking catalog that just makes sense and I want to see if it works.. That's how I felt when I read about a French Butter Bell® Crock, a traditional butter storage system that permits you to keep softened butter outside the refrigerator. I was very skeptically at first.
How many times did my mother yell at me for leaving the butter out? But after reading how this French crock or "beurrier" (bur-e-ay) was used in days past before refrigeration, I thought I'd give one a try.
You may be asking why I would want softened butter available at all times. Good question. The answer is my two little girls love toast and toasted waffles with butter for breakfast. Yes, I serve them omelets and cereal, but they love their waffles and butter.
Before I tried my Butter Bell crock, I would spread cold hard refrigerated butter that would often tear the waffle apart giving them reason to whine, "Daddy, your ruined my waffle!"
No more. The softened butter from the crock spreads fast, doesn't cool off their waffles and gets me smiles every morning.
Did I worry about getting sick?
Yeah at first but I couldn't believe they would be allowed to sell a product if it was making people sick. We've been using ours for a month now and there have been no complaints or illnesses. Of course you have to follow the manufacturers directions and keep it clean.
According to the manufacturer, the butter is protected by an airtight seal of water at the base of the crock. As you can see in the diagram, the butter goes in top half and sits in the bottom half that contains ⅓ cup of water. Not only does the crock keep the butter at the perfect "spreading" consistency by insulating and keeping the butter cool, it is designed to enhance the flavor and freshness.
I'm not sure how it enhances the flavor, but it does prevent the butter from picking up bad flavors and odors from other stuff in your refrigerator.
These "Butter Bells®" come in all sorts of sizes and styles to fit the look of your kitchen. They are made from a durable, high quality stoneware and are dishwasher safe.
Be sure to follow the helpful hints that come with the crock like washing it thoroughly before adding new butter.
You will also be pleased to know there are a bunch of well known chefs who endorse it. Here's how a few of them describe it much better than I do;
"The Butter Bell® crock allows the flavors of fresh, herbed butters to blend beautifully of a rich delicious taste" - Chef Peter Roelant, Executive Chef at The Four Oaks, Bel Air, CA
"The Butter Bell® enhances the taste of fresh, herbal butters while making a wonderful presentation piece." - Chef Jean Franxois Meteigner, Owner of La Cachette, Los Angeles, CA
"The Butter Bell® crock is a great invention that provides a perfect way to keep and present flavored butters in a unique and attractive container." - Chef Michael Roussel, Executive Chef at Brennan's, New Orleans, LA
If you are interested in some great herb butter recipes, see my Herb Butter Recipes page that includes Cilantro Herb Butter, Tarragon Herb Butter, Brennan's Bananas foster Butter and more.