In July, we ran a piece about a novel technique for softening butter. You can read about it here. Many readers did, and found the recommendation unappetizing. So today we are revisiting the issue and offering some new approaches.
One of the simplest is to rub the stick of butter against your box grater. You will find that the shreds that result are easily spreadable on bread or ready for other uses. Cutting a stick into smaller pieces will also hasten the softening.
Another no-fail method is to heat a glass water in the microwave or by boiling it. Pour out the hot water, then invert the glass over the stick of butter. After about a minute, you will find that the butter has become soft and pliable.
Finally, suppose that you run out of butter altogether. If you have container of heavy cream in the fridge, all is not lost. Simply follow the technique outlined in this video, but skip the additions of salt and thyme. That is especially critical if you will be using the butter in a recipe. (Always use unsalted butter when cooking!)
Note, incidentally, that any clean jar with a tight-fitting lid will do.
Be aware, by the way, that this technique is also great for whipping cream. Check the consistency after about 3 minutes and continue to shake as needed until the cream has formed either soft or stiff peaks, as desired.