Say hello to my little friend! It's a butter crock. Say whaaa??? A butter crock! It's my newest kitchen gadget, and I do love kitchen gadgets. This, however, is no new fangled, high tech gadget. A butter crock, or cloche de beurre (thank you college french class), is actually an old french technique used for ages to keep butter fresh and soft without having to refrigerate it. I've always kept butter out on the counter in a plain old butter dish and I've never had a problem with it. French people are not as big into refrigeration as we Americans are, and with butter, I tend to agree with them. I was raised that way and no one ever died of butter poisoning in my house, so it doesn't bother me like it might with other people. I like having soft spreadable butter. I mean, have you tried buttering a piece of bread with cold, hard butter? Not pretty.
So when it came time to replace my old plastic butter dish, I knew I wanted a butter crock. I've seen them for years, and the concept of how they worked intrigued me. Since I had a 20% off coupon to the Le Creuset outlet store, I thought now was as good a time as any to get one. You can find less expensive butter crocks (I've seen them online starting at $7), but since this little butter crock matches so well with "Big Orange", my beloved cast iron pot, well, I couldn't pass this one up. It was about $21 with the coupon. A steep price I admit for a butter dish, but it's so charming, no?
Here's the description from the Le Creuset peeps about the butter crock:
Butter crocks have been in use in parts of Europe dating back to the Middle Ages, long before reliable refrigeration was available. These airtight ceramic vessels prevented butter from spoiling while keeping it at a reasonable temperature. The stoneware butter crock is inspired by classic crock designs, blocking out air that can ruin butter, while approximating room temperature to keep the butter soft without melting.Here's how it works:
Pack a stick of softened butter into the bell-shaped cup that is built into the lid. Pour cold water into the base. The lid is placed upside down into the base and the water creates an airtight seal that preserves the freshness of the butter while keeping it at room temperature. Sweet, huh? Make sure you change the water every couple of days. Le Creuset says every 3-5 days, but I probably change it just about every day because I forget when I changed it last.
So if you're ever in the market for that all-important butter dish purchase, consider a charming little butter crock. C'est adorable!
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