Is it safe to leave butter at room temperature? If so, for how long is it safe to keep it out?
It depends on the room temperature where you live. At 65F (18C) or below, butter is often barely spreadable and will last for weeks on the counter in a sealed container. At 80F (26C), it starts to get overly soft and doesn't last more than several days.
Our family goes through about a pound / week and we've never had any issues with keeping a half-pound block on the counter at any given time - we finish it off before it has time to lose any quality or flavour. The rest we keep in the fridge until needed.
The most important thing is to keep it in a covered container - I'm sure a butter crock would do a great job, but even just any old small glass container with a lid will do.
The question seems to have been more about food safety than whether it seems palatable.
When the fat in butter decomposes (i.e. when the butter becomes rancid), it produces an unhealthy acid that actually inhibits mold growth. So, don't wait for your butter to mold to determine if it's gone bad.
To follow strict food-safety guidelines, protect butter from heat, light, and air; store it up to two weeks in a refrigerator, below 40 degrees.
It can also be frozen for 6 to 9 months.
I keep my butter in a covered dish next to the toaster. When it gets hard on the outside I toss it. This doesn't happen very often as I am now using 1/8 pound sticks. Usually the sticks last about a month in the summer, longer in the winter. If it has been a while I'll smell it before using it or just toss it.
My experience is that butter crocks just suck. I was all excited when I first had one (what a great idea!), only to find that the butter would get really yucky tasting and even moldy quite quickly.
Then maybe fifteen years later (last year) I decided to try again. Same experience.
I've also tried it without the water -- similar results.
A simple covered butter dish is much more effective, in my experience. Butter keeps and tastes good for quite a while -- a couple of weeks, anyway.
I have no scientific theories to explain this (though I'd be vaguely interested to hear some). Just the empirical facts, validated through repeated experiments with consistent results.
As long as you use salted butter it will keep in a covered container at room temperature for at least 2-3 weeks without getting mouldy or rancid, in my experience. If you use unsalted butter there are more microorganisms that can live on it so it spoils faster, but there aren't any common contaminants that can grow on salted butter other than moulds, and even they grow very slowly on it.
When I first got a microwave oven I tried to use it for warming the butter when I took it from the fridge. I found that the butter went rancid if you did it two or three times.
Although just microwaving a small portion to use was OK, it was difficult to time the warming so the stuff didn't melt. Now I just keep it in a butter dish at room temperature, except in high summer.
With the increased corporate production of our food stuffs, we are seeing an uptick in foodborne illness and changing/mutations of infective bacteria. Listeria in butter is an area of concern that is increasing and it is controlled through time and temperature control. Cooking is not a control measure for Listeria. Refrigerate your butter people! This is not "the good old days" anymore in regards to foods.
I have always kept my butter, 1/4 pound at a time, out on the counter in a covered, pottery-type butter dish (Fiestaware) or a covered glass dish. The latter is probably less desirable because of light exposure, but either way, I have never had a problem, and I am picky about food freshness. We use the 1/4 pound within about a week, I'd say.
The exception is in summer, when it sometimes gets hot enough to melt the butter in the dish. At those times, I put the butter dish in the wine refrigerator, which we keep at 55 degrees F. If you happen to have a wine refrigerator, it's a great compromise - the butter doesn't spread as easily, but it isn't rock-hard either, and it's better than having it melted.
I cooked quinoa like rice and ate half of it. I am planning to have the other half for breakfast. Is it safe to leave it in room temperature overnight (I don't have a refrigerator)?
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Many recipes call for ingredients that are normally stored cold to be at room temperature at the time of use. One example is a cake recipe, which often calls for all ingredients (milk, eggs, etc) to be at room temperature. What is the safe method of bringing these ingredients to room temperature? Do you just leave them out for a few hours? Alternatively, what is a quick way to accomplish this? Heat them up? Place them in room temperature or warm water baths?
I am accustomed to creaming sugar and butter, but the recipes I have used until now had more butter than sugar. This time, I tried a cookie recipe which had 180 g sugar and 75 g butter. It was supposed to be creamed at room temperature, without melting the butter. The result was a mass of separated dry crumbles, not the smooth mass I am used to seeing. Is this normal? Would using a paddle have made a difference? (I used the foam beaters of the handheld mixer, it doesn't have a paddle). Should I have tried to beat for a longer time? The cookies tasted good in the end, but maybe they could
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I'm making a 9x13 chocolate cake, frosted with a vanilla buttercream, (not filled) and covered with black Fondarific fondant. Here's the ingredients for the frosting: 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1-2 cups confectioners sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 tablespoon vanilla up to 2 tablespoons milk The cake is going to be finished tonight, and eaten tomorrow afternoon. Is it safe to leave it out of the fridge?