Surprisingly easy to make, brown butter is used to add a deep, nutty flavour to a range of recipes. From cookies to cakes & even vegetables and meat.
What Is Brown Butter?
Brown butter or “beurre noisette” is butter that has been cooked until the water in the butter has evaporated & the milk solids have been toasted, or browned. The result is a butter that is brown in colour & super nutty in flavour.
Using brown butter is the key to making bakery style cookies but can also be used to flavour cakes as well as vegetables, meat & fish.
How Its’ Made
It may sound complicated but brown butter is actually very easy to make. First, chop some butter up into small, evenly sized pieces then throw into a saucepan & place over a medium heat. As the butter cooks, it will start to foam & you’ll notice the milk solids in the bottom of the pan, start to turn brown.
It’s important that you stir the butter regularly throughout the cooking process so that the milk solids don’t catch, turning the butter dark & bitter. A rubber spatula works well.
For most of my recipes (especially baking ones), I tend to use unsalted butter as this allows us to control how much salt goes into a dish. When it comes to making brown butter, it’s easier to use unsalted butter as salted will foam up more, making it harder to judge the colour of the butter as it browns.
It’s still possible to brown salted butter, just make sure to not take it too far. The end result will still be the same.
How To Use
One of the most popular ways of using brown butter is in chocolate chip cookies. This is how bakeries make their cookies so good! But it can also be used to bring a nutty flavour to cakes & enriched doughs.
Brown butter also has uses in savoury dishes. Basting a pan seared steak for example or using as a sauce for pasta.
When it comes to baking with brown butter, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Butter is made up of roughly 20% water, so when you brown it, this water will evaporate. This means that if you started with 100g of regular butter, you’d end up with 80g of brown butter.
If you require 100g of brown butter for a recipe, you would need to use 125g of regular butter.
If your using brown butter for a recipe that calls for regular butter, the moisture that was lost in the browning process will need to be replaced. There’s quite a few ways to do this. An extra egg yolk or a splash of milk tends to do the trick. Bear in mind that this can alter the texture, so it’s worth doing a bit of research.
Like normal butter, brown butter needs to be kept in the fridge if not being used straight away. It will also solidify like normal butter & should be used within 3 days of making.
Brown Butter Recipes
- Brown Butter & Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Brownies
- Small Batch Lemon Drizzle
- Miso Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookies
How To Make Brown Butter
- 125 g Unsalted Butter
- Start by chopping the butter into evenly sized pieces.
- Place a saucepan over a medium heat, add the butter to the pan & allow to melt, stirring frequently with a heat proof spatula.
- Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. At this point it’s important to stir continuously & to keep an eye on the bottom of the pan for browning milk solids.
- As the butter begins to brown, it will start to smell nutty & will begin to darken in colour. Keep stirring until the butter is golden brown then immediately remove from the heat.Scrape the contents of the pan (including the toasted milk solids) into a bowl & leave to cool.
If you use unsalted butter, it will be easier to control the amount of salt in a recipe.
Salted butter will be slightly harder to make brown butter with as it tends to foam more, making it harder to judge the colour of the butter as it browns.
Either way, the end result will be the same. If you’re using brown butter in a recipe that calls for regular butter, keep in mind that the moisture that is lost by browning butter will need replacing. This could be adding milk to a cake batter or an extra egg yolk to cookie dough.