Storage and cooking

Normal butter softens to a spreadable consistency around 15 C (60 F), well above refrigerator temperatures. The "butter compartment" found in many refrigerators may be one of the warmer sections inside, but it still leaves butter quite hard. Until recently, many refrigerators sold in New Zealand featured a "butter conditioner", a compartment kept warmer than the rest of the refrigeratorbut still cooler than room temperaturewith a small heater.[39] Keeping butter tightly wrapped delays rancidity, which is hastened by exposure to light or air, and also helps prevent it from picking up other odors. Wrapped butter has a shelf life of several months at refrigerator temperatures.[citation needed] "French butter dishes" or "Acadian butter dishes" involve a lid with a long interior lip, which sits in a container holding a small amount of water. Usually the dish holds just enough water to submerge the interior lip when the dish is closed. Butter is packed into the lid. The water acts as a seal to keep the butter fresh, and also keeps the butter from overheating in hot temperatures. This allows butter to be safely stored on the countertop for several days without spoilage. Once butter is softened, spices, herbs, or other flavoring agents can be mixed into it, producing what is called a compound butter or composite butter (sometimes also called composed butter). Compound butters can be used as spreads, or cooled, sliced, and placed onto hot food to melt into a sauce. Sweetened compound butters can be served with desserts; such hard sauces are often flavored with spirits. When heated, butter quickly melts into a thin liquid. Melted butter plays an important role in the preparation of sauces, most obviously in French cuisi

e. Beurre noisette (hazelnut butter) and Beurre noir (black butter) are sauces of melted butter cooked until the milk solids and sugars have turned golden or dark brown; they are often finished with an addition of vinegar or lemon juice. Hollandaise and bearnaise sauces are emulsions of egg yolk and melted butter; they are in essence mayonnaises made with butter instead of oil. Hollandaise and bearnaise sauces are stabilized with the powerful emulsifiers in the egg yolks, but butter itself contains enough emulsifiersmostly remnants of the fat globule membranesto form a stable emulsion on its own. Beurre blanc (white butter) is made by whisking butter into reduced vinegar or wine, forming an emulsion with the texture of thick cream. Beurre monte (prepared butter) is melted but still emulsified butter; it lends its name to the practice of "mounting" a sauce with butter: whisking cold butter into any water-based sauce at the end of cooking, giving the sauce a thicker body and a glossy shineas well as a buttery taste.[40] In Poland, the butter lamb (Baranek wielkanocny) is a traditional addition to the Easter Meal for many Polish Catholics. Butter is shaped into a lamb either by hand or in a lamb-shaped mould. Butter is also used to make edible decorations to garnish other dishes. Mixing melted butter with chocolate to make a brownie Butter is used for sauteing and frying, although its milk solids brown and burn above 150 C (250 F)a rather low temperature for most applications. The smoke point of butterfat is around 200 C (400 F), so clarified butter or ghee is better suited to frying. Ghee has always been a common frying medium in India, where many avoid other animal fats for cultural or religious reasons.