The Fresh Loaf

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"Meanwhile, wash the cold, firm butter until it is waxy, for about 2 min." ????

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Maj. Paranoia's picture
Maj. Paranoia

"Meanwhile, wash the cold, firm butter until it is waxy, for about 2 min." ????

Hello!  I'm new to this board, and I'm wondering if someone might be able to explain the above directions that I read in the Antoinette Pope cookbook for a basic dough for Danish Pastries.  (Page 525 if you happen to have that cookbook.) 


 


Can anyone explain why the directions would call for washing it?  After washing, the water is to be squeezed out, then the butter is to be divided into thirds, and then they're to be wrapped in wax paper and refrigerated until it's time to cut one clump of butter into small pieces and distributed over 2/3 of the dough, then the dough is folded and rolled, etc. (and the usual process of folding, rolling, chilling, more butter, more folding, rolling, chilling, etc.).


 


Could it be that since this cookbook was originally published in 1948 that it was necessary back then to wash the butter due to possible impurities in it?  That's the only thing I can think of.  Does anyone else have any ideas or explanations?


 


Thanks for the help!


 


BTW - I'm SO glad I found this place!

butterflygrooves's picture
butterflygrooves

Washing homemade butter helps to rinse out the last of the buttermilk from the butter solids.  The butter will go rancid quickly if this step isn't taken.


I don't believe you need to wash store bought butter.

Maj. Paranoia's picture
Maj. Paranoia

so, no, I won't be making it.  But I'll pass that on to my daughter for the next time she decides to make butter with my grandchildren.  ;)  (I believe they've made it once as an "experiment".)


 


Thank you for the information! 

Vesparider's picture
Vesparider

If passing the advice along to your daughter, note that washing butter is a specific technique, and does not involve rinsing a stick of it under water.  Washing butter requires adding a little bit of cool water to the butter and then pressing the butter against the sides of the bowl with a spoon to release the trapped buttermilk.  You dump out the sqeezings, add a little more water and repeat.  You keep doing this until the squeezings run clear indicating that all the buttermilk has been expressed.  It is the most tedious part of making homemade butter, in my opinion.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

You had to wash out the salt.  There are a lot of very old recipes that call for 'washing the butter.'

sansanmlg's picture
sansanmlg

Iam wondering, is the recipe said to put the butter in the cold water, then squeeze it? If yes, it is one method similar with Joy Of Cooking. The reason is to make the butter soft enough but not melted . It is alternative method instead of pounding the butter with flour. I tried this before and succeed, it is quicker than the other one, only my hand become numb because I have to put my hand in the very cold water :)

Maj. Paranoia's picture
Maj. Paranoia

Great information from everyone, and I thank you all!


 


To answer the questions:  The recipe didn't call for home-made butter.  It also didn't state whether it should be sweet or salted.  It said exactly what I wrote in my original title.  And nothing else about it, except to cut into thirds, etc.


Vesparider - I will certainly pass on the info to my daughter, although I don't think (at this time) that she'll be making butter again - at least, not unless it's another home "science project" or experiment (she home schools).


PaddyL - Out of curiosity, do you know off-hand if all store-bought butter "way back when" was salted?  I can somewhat understand if it was, since the really fresh butter would have been a bit more difficult to come by back in those days if one lived in a city.  I'm guessing that only the farm folks had access to the really fresh stuff.  And since only the wealthier people had refrigerators (as we know them - not the "ice boxes"), it would have been difficult to keep sweet butter from going rancid during the hot days of summer (with no A/C), I'm assuming.   I remember reading something or hearing someone say that one should always buy sweet butter because salted is old (out-of-date) sweet butter that has been re-juvenated by adding the salt.


sansanmlg - I've never heard of pounding butter with flour.  Can you enlighten me?  I might have to opt for that since I have a medical condition that causes my fingers and toes to turn blue when they get too cold (no, it's not Reynaud's Syndrome, as they're red all the time - not just when they start to get cold).  Unless I could wear something like Playtex gloves that would help to insulate my hands while I'm washing the butter.  Then again, the only time here in Houston that our tap water gets *that* cold is in January or early February.  The rest of the year it's only slightly cool or (during the hottest part of summer) luke-warm.  LOL  And I think we're now past the "cold" water stage until next January.  (We went from the 30's last week into the 70's and 80's in just a couple days' time and I'm already planting my Spring veggie garden!  It warmed up so fast that my red cabbage - a winter veggie for us - wasn't able to reach its full potential.)


Thank you all again very much for your responses.  :)


 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I think you've answered your own question about store bought butter 'way back when'.  You were lucky if you lived on a farm and were able to have fresh creamery butter which was, of course, unsalted, but living in a town or city and relying on stores, they would have had to salt the butter in order for it to stay 'fresh.'  As I said before, I've only seen recipes calling for washing the butter in my older cookbooks.

sansanmlg's picture
sansanmlg

You just sprinkle flour on butter (maybe around 1/4 cup for 2 sticks of butter), then you put the butter between two wax/parchment paper and pound it by rolling pin until flat. After that you can shape it to rectangle and keep in fridge until ready to use. That's it.

rodentraiser's picture
rodentraiser

Making butter from cream is expensive and a pain in the a**. However, I love to make butter and since we have so many different creameries up in this area, sometimes I'll take home three or more pints of different heavy creams to do a butter taste test. The organics will always give you more butter per pint then the regular store brand heavy creams.


A pint of good cream will give me something like 1/2 pound of butter, give or take. I usually make a half pint at a time and that gives me a snowball sized ball of butter. That's when I wash it under cold running water for several minutes, squeezing it as much as I can until the water runs clear. Then pat it dry and salt it and put it on a dish. Yeah, I waste a little butter doing this by hand, but it's the best lotion I've ever seen! I've left my butter out for almost a week with no refrigeration and I've never had a problem with it going bad. Usually it's all eaten, with fresh bread, in about 4 or 5 days. Or less. Usually less.


 I highly doubt you're going to have to wash any butter bought in today's stores, though.