Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do?
While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess.
Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start.
How to bring butter to room temperature
If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter to warm it, you’ve likely opened the door to a giant puddle. The results are inconsistent and times are hard to gauge. Here’s a better way:
Take a large glass or ceramic bowl, and fill it with water. Microwave it for a few minutes until the water is near boiling. Remove from the microwave, dump the water, and invert the bowl over the stick of butter. After about five to seven minutes, your butter will be much easier to work with.
Other ways to soften butter
The classic method suggestions that you cut your butter in small cubes. The smaller the pieces, the less time each will take to get to room temperature.
Alternatively, you can run your stick of butter against a cheese grater to get your butter into smaller pieces to speed up warming. This is also the preferred method if you need just a little, like say, for a slice of toast.
Have a little muscle? If you need your butter right now and don’t mind a little work-out, consider another classic method. Put your butter in a bag and go after it with a rolling pin — really. Smack it, roll it, press it — anything that gets the butter to go flat helps with softening too.
How to warm eggs to room temperature
Typically if a recipe calls for room temperature butter, it’s a good idea to use room temperature eggs, as well. Hot water will be your friend here.
Run very warm water into a large bowl (Usually hot tap water is about right.). You don’t want it to be excessively hot because dropping cold eggs in hot water can cause their fragile shells to crack open and ooze. Place eggs in warm water and wait about five to seven minutes. Your eggs are now ready to use.
How to warm milk to room temperature
Room temperature milk is less common of a requirement, but still, you’ll see it once in a while. Microwaving liquids isn’t the best because it can be inconsistent from one use to the next, but it also heats rather uneven. A variation of the egg method is best, and you can even share the same bowl.
Place your milk in a large tall, study glass, and cover the top if you can. Put the glass in a large bowl of hot tap water. It will take about seven to ten minutes for the milk to reach room temperature.
Also see, how to make a buttermilk substitute at home.