The small fancy dish we have often seen at departmental stores or on the online shopping websites labelled as a butter dish can be quite a handy accessory for the dinner table. Butter dishes today come in a variety of designs keeping in mind its utility. Butter is everyone’s favourite ingredient as it can be used to make any meal taste better. Previously it used to be used only for toasts or bakery items. However nowadays even simple dishes require a dollop of butter to make it delicious. Hence butter is not an item to be hidden in a refrigerator or on a shelf.
We need this tasty food item on our tables, and butter dishes are the means to store them. Traditionally, butter dishes used to be round in shape to hold butter churned out in homes. Once commercial butter in rectangular shapes started being sold in a fixed weight, butter dish shapes changed into more elegant designs.
Also Read- HOW TO PREPARE A BUTTER DISH BEFORE USING IT
The Original French Butter Dishes
There was a time when butter dishes came designed to contain an ice chamber to hold ice inside it for keeping the butter solid and fresh during a time when there was no refrigeration. Butter, especially the unsalted variety today is very likely to spoil if left outside in warm temperatures. Butter can go rancid when unrefrigerated and that would be a complete waste. However, for the smooth spread that we all like on our toasts, the traditional style of French butter dishes turns out to be perfect. Other varieties of the butter dish are the even more traditional French crock or butter bell. These jars are designed to keep an unrefrigerated portion of the butter fresh and soft.
Traditional French butter keepers had an inverted design that was placed in water. Usually made of ceramic or stone crock, the butter lid sits snugly on top, and an inch of water is poured. The water helps seal the butter container keeping out any growth of germs while the air pocket created inside it ensures that the butter remains dry without coming in contact with outside air. The water needs to be changed promptly or else it can cause the butter to go rancid. The right storage in these dishes ensured that the butter remained soft and ready for use.
Today butter dish designs have changed. One cannot, ignore the convenience of butter dishes and how it makes it so much easier to serve and scoop out a dollop of butter from a bowl.
Butter Makes Everything So Tasty
Whether you have a simple butter spread on toast for breakfast or would like to add some taste to your hot pancakes, one cannot deny the delicious flavour it imparts. Adding a dollop of butter can make so much of a difference to any dish and make it much more satisfying to eat. So many continental recipes even have a scoop of cold butter emulsified into hot sauce letting the taste and richness blend in smoothly. Having this handy accessory right on the dinner table would make you reach out for it and add some richness to any dish you’d be having.
It’s Much Easier to Access
Having a butter dish on your table makes it easy to access whenever we wish to have it. The butter from the refrigerator usually becomes hard and it is difficult to spread it on toast. You would then need to wait for it to reach optimum temperature and soften enough for a smooth spread.
Good Way to Store Homemade Butter
If you’re amongst those, who make butter at home, having a butter dish will be more than just an accessory. It becomes a necessity. The problem with butter made at home is that they need to be consumed pretty soon after being made. Homemade butter usually lasts for around 3-5 days if left outside at room temperature that isn’t too hot and if refrigerated, they’ll last up to 7-8 days longer. And if you’ve put in all the effort in making churning butter at home, why store it in some random mason jar when you could store it in a handcrafted food safe butter dish. Since homemade butter would not be in the form of a rectangular block, like the commercially sold ones, you’ll also need to choose a butter dish accordingly. Butter crocks or Butter Bells in its more traditional designs are the more popular choice when it comes to storing homemade butter.
Innovative butter dish styles
If you want to add character to your dinner table and draw some attention to your butter dish that can also act as a lovely centrepiece. Many modern-day fancy butter dishes let go of the traditional rectangular tray shape and come in pot shaped designs. Some are shaped like animals, the common ones being a mermaid, a pig or horse or even a seashell. These novelty designs appear fancy on the dinner table and can be a conversation starter when you have guests over.
How About Gifting a Butter Dish?
Butter dishes might be a kitchen item; most people don’t consider buying for themselves. A fancy butter dish can make for a great gift item to give to a friend or family. They’ll serve as a decorative and handy accessory for their table. There are a wide variety of butter dishes available these days in a range of materials, ceramic being the most popular. Many handcrafted designs reflecting fine pottery craftsmanship can be seen on a display of the best butter dishes. If you’re already familiar with the décor of your friend’s dining table or kitchen, opt for designs that could complement its surroundings well.
The material of Butter Dish
Ceramic products come in beautiful hand-painted designs that have a touch of elegance to them. Many butter dishes are also available in solid colours that are easier to pair with a particular kind of dining set. Neutral hues of beige, off-white and grey are safe colours to choose if you don’t want to be experimental. Glass ones that come in varieties of plain transparent lids can take over the ceramic or wooden plates. Hand-cut crystal glass butter dishes are fancier varieties that serve well as decorative pieces for the dinner table.
Many butter dishes are created using traditional hand-blown glass making techniques. Some butter dishes might come with its matching set of butter knives which can also be a handy piece to have instead of setting aside a separate butter knife. Vintage ceramic collections of butter dishes have a more worn-out look given to them for a traditional feel.
Another modern material to experiment with would be wooden butter dishes. Usually paired with a glass lid, wooden butter dishes look classy and add a unique charm to the dinner table. Cleaning wooden butter dishes must be done with care, avoiding long soaks in water or the use of abrasives. Wood is a material being widely used in many kitchens these days since they are known for their rustic look. Most of them are intricately shaped and have a natural grained appearance to them.
The best way to maintain wooden butter dishes is to occasionally season them with special mineral oil that helps retain its lustre and prevents it from cracking up due to wear and tear. Although a little high maintenance, wooden dishes are durable and make for an excellent addition to one’s kitchen collection. Shop for handcrafted premium quality ellementry butter dishes that come in a variety of designs!