What’s the deal about Browned Butter?
Also known as Beurre Noisette.
Because Butter (beurre) has been clarified (melted) and then browned to the color of hazelnuts (noisettes).
But why go to the extra trouble though? I mean can’t we just melt butter and add it to the recipe?
Well sure you can do anything you want to do really.
But what will happen if we do that? I wrote a blog post called What is cake to address specifically that. Check it out and then come back here!
But let’s understand that butter contains fat, proteins, moisture and milk solids.
When you melt butter, those fats are changed from a solid form to a liquid form and when it gets cold again it re-solidifies. It doesn’t re-solidify nicely though, if any of you have ever melted butter then stuck it in the refrigerator? Ummm, weird hockey puck like waxy thing on top of a bunch of milky liquid in the bottom of the dish. This experiment actually showcases the properties of butter in the best light though. You can clearly see the fat (that hockey puck waxy thing) the milk solids (that milky looking stuff) and then the separated oil and moisture slushing around.
Let’s take oil now, and do the same thing. Oil remains liquid whether it is refrigerated or not.
The major difference to remember between butter and oil in cake making is their properties at room temperature (or cold). If you now re-introduce this ingredient to the recipe (cake); when that cake gets to room temperature, cooled or even cold what will happen to those properties inside the cake? The same thing that happens to them when they are NOT inside the cake!
So you see that although you can often times make substitutions to recipes with ingredients that seem to be so similar, the results will not be so similar.
Ok, now back to the topic at hand.
Browned butter is luscious. It brings a depth of flavor to recipes that is unmatched. But technically it is no longer “butter” once we remove that moisture and those milk solids through the cooking process.
So its now easy to remember that any recipe calling for oil can definitely be substituted with Browned Butter.
Just remember that you will start with a bit more butter that you will end up with after it is done browning and the solids are removed.
For every 8 tablespoons or 1 stick you start out with, you will get about 6 tablespoons after the browning and solids are removed.
So if you need 1 cup oil for a recipe, start with 3 sticks of butter!
It is more expensive of course, but it is really worth it!
If you watch the quick video below you will see how easy it is to convert butter to Beurre Noisette for any of your recipes calling for oil!
So choose your recipes that will really benefit from this addition like my Tropical Carrot Cake recipe
and the Hazelnut Genoise Cake too!