Rich, nutty brown butter is one of life’s greatest joys. Seeing a piece of butter slowly turn to a golden amber color and perfume your kitchen with the seductive scent of roasted nuts is a form of kitchen alchemy I’ll never get over. If you’ve never tried brown butter baking, you’re seriously missing out. It gives biscuits and cakes a wonderful roasted taste, which makes them very special. Brown buttery blondes? Sign me up.
However, baking with brown butter isn’t as straightforward as simply swapping out for traditional melted butter. This often leads to dry and brittle baked goods. Sure, the taste will be good, but the texture would be compromised. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to adding brown butter to almost any baked good while preserving the texture – and it won’t cost you anything. Find out how to do it.
The secret to using brown butter in almost every baked good? Just add water.
When butter browns, the water in it evaporates. Because of this, baked goods made from brown butter often turn out dry – they just don’t take into account the water lost during browning. Butter is about 15% water, which doesn’t sound like much, but can lead to quite a bit of water being left out in recipes when brown butter is used in place of traditional butter. Because of this, it’s important to consider the water loss due to browning to make sure your baked goods contain enough moisture.
As a rule of thumb, for each butter stick required in a recipe, you need to put 1 tablespoon of water back into the butter after it is browned. The easiest way to do this is to wait for the brown butter to cool down a bit and just add the tablespoon of water to the melted butter. You can also add the water directly to the batter. (This comes in handy when you need to cool the brown butter down before using it.)
Remember that online recipes specifically made with brown butter already take water loss into account. So you don’t have to do anything if the recipe already calls for brown butter. However, if you want to improve on a recipe using regular butter (like a classic chocolate chip cookie), consider using this method and adding the water to the browned butter. Also, keep in mind that while this trick works for most recipes, it isn’t dead easy. Depending on the recipe, you may have to play around with how much water you add.
Our favorite recipes for Brown Butter In
Do you feel inspired to use brown butter in your next baked good? Check out these recipes.
In which baked goods do you prefer to use brown butter? Let us know in the comments!