Extra-browns Browned Butter
Not double, not triple, but ten, twenty-times of (salty) browned bits.
You’ve never known browned butter this way. You’ll never want to know it any other way.
The other day, two hours after midnight while I was peeling through the dense jungle of Amazon’s available silicone microwave popcorn makers to be exact, something hit me like a lightening slitting down a tree.
A glorious thing, absolutely. But what is wrong with browned butter? No, no, let me rephrase. What is missing with browned butter? It’s a beautiful thing that is butter made even more beautiful by letting the remaining traces of milk – an inevitable remnant from the process of making butter from cream – slowly caramelize into speckles of browned bits that, I want to argue, is the unsung hero that truly gives browned butter its celebrated nuttiness and deep, rich aroma.
So here I ask again, as attractive as is, what is missing with browned butter?
I say, not enough browned bits.
Yes, think about it! Think about how sick browned butter could be if it is accompanied by not double, not triple, but ten, twenty-times the amount of browned bits that separates browned butter from being a component to a stand-alone, self-sufficient sauce all on its own.
Because I’m not just talking about browned bits, but salty, salty browned bits. Relentlessly nutty to a point of almost sweet aroma storming your nasal cavity, with the saltiness bringing out all the nuance of depth and flavor that plain fat couldn’t physically carry by itself (salt can’t melt in oil), this is what I am calling Extra Browns, the late-arriving amplification of what browned butter could’ve, should’ve, would’ve been if everyone has been making it this way. You’ve never known browned butter this way. You’ll never want to know it any other way.
Simply add milk. Simply add milk, my friends.
- 1 stick (8 tbsp/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
- 3 tbsp (45 grams) whole milk
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Combine unsalted butter, whole milk and sea salt in a small non-stick pot (important, okay?). Cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring frequently if not constantly, until the liquid has all evaporated, and the butter starts to get foamy on the surface. Push aside the foam with a wooden spoon to check on the milk solids, and continue to cook until they turn gorgeously browned. Pour into a bowl immediately to stop further cooking. The whole process should take about 9 to 10 minutes. Use this liquid gold on whatever your hearts desire.
- UPDATE MARCH 26/2020: If you have big flakes and clusters of browned milk solids during the process, don't worry just keep going. Once the butter is poured into a bowl, crush them with the back of a spoon.