It’s a real pain to try to spread stiff blocks of butter onto toast. For a long time, my strategy was to drop a few slivers onto the bread while it was still hot and wait to spread it until the heat had softened the butter. Of course, there is the option of buying tub margarine, but I just can’t bring myself to use something with so many added ingredients. It is possible to find tubs of a mixture containing nothing but butter and canola or olive oil, but that stuff is still a long way from the luscious ease of true spreadability. And what I really want is good old-fashioned butter with all its healthy vitamins and minerals. I just want it to be easy to slather. And I want toast free from holes and tears.
The secret, of course, is temperature. Room-temperature butter has a truly delectable slather. And for short periods of time, simply leaving the butter on the counter works well. But unless you use a prodigious amount of butter, the spoilage rate of butter left in the open air will outpace you.
Enter the Butter Bell. This little two-piece porcelain jar is specifically designed to prevent premature spoilage of room-temperature butter. The cup holding the butter is turned upside-down in a jar that has a half-inch or so of water in the bottom. The water seal aids freshness but prevents the butter from absorbing odors from the air (something refrigerator-stored butter is notorious for doing). Butter will still spoil in it if you don’t use it within 30 days, but if you use butter even semi-regularly, there shouldn’t be an issue. Not only is butter straight from the Butter Bell wonderfully soft and lacking in any refrigerator odors, it’s convenient since it can be stored right on the kitchen table, or beside the toaster. Wherever you prefer to do your slathering!
Butter Bells come in all sorts of colors and patterns and can be purchased online here. Or, if you’re a ceramicist, make your own! I’ve been using mine for a few years now and love it. The one risk is that, when butter is so easy to spread and so delicious (because at room temperature you can taste all its intricacies), you’ll use twice as much….