What is Brown Butter?
Brown Butter which is also known as Beurre Noisette, is butter that is melted gently and then is cooked until the water evaporates and it turns brown.
Beurre Noisette if French for ‘Hazelnut Butter’ when the butter is cooked it changes the flavour, smell and colour, the reason the French called it Beurre Noisette is because there is a slight nutty aroma.
You can use brown butter in so many recipes like; cookies, cakes, brownies, blondies, tarts, you can even add it to when you are making ice cream, it will enhance their flavour or maybe even just drizzling it over steamed or roasted vegetables.
Even when your brown butter has solidified, you can use it just like regular butter, if a recipe calls for butter swap it out for brown butter, it is just going to enhance the flavour of your baked goods. Using it in a chocolate chip cookie or brownie recipe is going to give your bake a lovely caramelised nutty flavour.
Important things to know
- Butter is made up of butterfat, water and milk proteins.
- Butter contains 13 – 17% water, the water content will vary slightly between brands – the water evaporates during the cooking process.
The website Serious Eats has a post on browning butter, from a blog called The Tough Cookie and Nila who does that blog has an equation to help get the right of brown butter you need.
Here is Nila’s equation (which is super helpful)
(desired amount of brown butter in grams x 100) / (100 – water content in percentages) = amount of butter needed.
For example you need 120g Brown Butter and your water content is 17%
120 x 100 / 100 – 17% = 145g Butter
- Its important to use a light coloured saucepan so that you are able to see the butter browning.
- When your butter reaches 212F, the water in the butter will start to evaporate more quickly.
Brown Butter (Buerre Noisette)
What you need
250g Unsalted Butter (or what ever amount you need – use the formula from Nila which is above)
Heavy-based light coloured saucepan
Spatula or Whisk
- Melt the butter
Cut your butter into fairly even sized pieces and place in a heavy-based saucepan which is light in colour, as this will help you to see when the butter is browning. Let the butter melt, stirring occasionally so that it melts evenly.
- Cook off the water in the butter
The water in the butter will start to bubble and splatter, keep stirring constantly to make sure that all the bubbles get released. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent any of the milk solids from burning.
- Brown the butter
The butter will start to foam, make sure to keep a constant eye on your butter, and stirring all the while to prevent the milk solids sticking to the bottom of your pan.
You will be able to tell your butter is browning because you will start to see darker speckles (which are the browned milk solids) appearing in the melted butter. It’s quite hard to see with all of the foam, so keep stirring so help clear it away.
It depends on how dark you want your brown butter to how you keep it on the heat.
- When you are happy with the colour of your brown butter, take it off the heat and pour straight into a clean bowl. If you were to leave it in the saucepan the heat from it would carry on cooking the butter and you would of gone from a perfectly brown butter to a burnt mess.
It is your own personal choice to whether you keep the brown milk solids or whether you strain them off.
Have fun using your brown butter in your bakes!