This post may seem redundant, with all the tutorials on how to brown butter already out there, but I really needed it here. It’s such an important skill to have and I use it all the time. Plus, once you’ve done it a couple times, it becomes second nature and you don’t even need instructions anymore. If I had to pick a favorite thing to do in the kitchen, browning butter would definitely be up there.
Start with a medium sauce pan set to medium heat. Note: Do not let the pan get too hot before you add the butter, or bad things will occur.
Take a stick of butter. It doesn’t matter if it is frozen, refrigerated, or room temperature, because it will be melted either way, but it does help to cut it into pieces.
Melt the butter completely. Begin whisking it. It will start to bubble and become very frothy and crackly, but keep whisking. There will be a noticeable halt to the crackliness, and as you’re whisking, a brownish color will show up underneath the foam. Here is my attempt at photographing it:
Keep whisking until the color is a rich chestnut (as described by Joy the Baker) and a saltier butter smell is in the air, then remove from heat and pour into a glass container to cool to room temperature. Make sure you use a heat resistant rubber spatula to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, as this is the best part.
And that’s it! You’ve browned butter.
But wait, there’s a catch. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially the first time you do it. There’s a fine line between browned butter and burnt butter, so make sure you don’t cross it. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and turn off the flame right when you start to notice the brown color, than to go too far. If it starts to smell burnt, you probably have burnt it. Don’t let the color get too dark.
That being said, browning butter may be one of the most important skills you learn. You can use browned butter in place of regular butter in most baking recipes, with a slightly crispier texture (in something like cookies) but a really increase in flavor.