how to brown butter

Brown butter: butter heated to the point of separation, allowing the milk solids to be exposed to heat and start to cook- turning brown.

Why would you want to brown butter? Because butter is amazing, and brown butter is even more amazing. You heard it here first, folks. Butter is a magical substance- basically, the fat is emulsified with water, so when you heat it, the solids can separate. This is a similar method to clarifying butter, except you want to keep the milk solids.

Any time you are using melted butter in a dish that could use some extra punch or depth, you can brown the butter. This will lend a caramelly, nutty flavor to the butter, as the milk solids will actually start to cook and turn brown.

Very easy to do- put your butter in a medium saucepan, turn the heat to medium, and start melting it. It will go through a few different phases, but the last one you want is when the foam starts to turn brown. Check out the photos below for a step-by-step!

This is the butter just after it has melted. 

This is the butter just after it has melted. 

It's starting to get a little foamy, but it's still very yellow and pretty cohesive. It will foam up twice: the first time, pictured here, shows you're about halfway there.

It's starting to get a little foamy, but it's still very yellow and pretty cohesive. It will foam up twice: the first time, pictured here, shows you're about halfway there.

The first foam will clear off. Let it simmer away until it starts to change again....

The first foam will clear off. Let it simmer away until it starts to change again....

More foam! The second time you have to stay super close because at this point it's very easy to burn.

More foam! The second time you have to stay super close because at this point it's very easy to burn.

The bubbles will circulate the milk solids, and you'll b able to tell they are browning because the foam will be brown. As soon as you see this, pull the pan from the heat to keep it from burning!

The bubbles will circulate the milk solids, and you'll b able to tell they are browning because the foam will be brown. As soon as you see this, pull the pan from the heat to keep it from burning!

As the butter cools, the foam will subside and you'll be able to see the brown milk solids at the bottom. Yum! Congratulations. You've browned butter!

As the butter cools, the foam will subside and you'll be able to see the brown milk solids at the bottom. Yum! Congratulations. You've browned butter!

Looking for something to use this concoction in? How about some brown butter caramel bars?