What does it mean to cut in butter?
“To cut in butter” means to break butter into smaller pieces. Typically the smaller pieces are about a pea sized portion or smaller.
Butter is cut into recipes that need small chunks of butter to melt into the food to create flakes of pastry.
If you’re cutting in butter to your recipe, it’s best to use cold fat to cut in for your pastry. The butter will remain in small cube and be able to melt in the oven.
If you melt your butter prematurely to use for your recipe, you wont get the flakiness for your desired pastry.
How to Cut in Butter
- Your bowl should be full of flour, baking powder or soda, salt, and sugar. Mix them together.
- Add your cold chunk of butter to the bowl.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter down until you reach the bowl.
- Remove the pastry blender from the butter. You can remove excess butter from the pastry blender by using a knife.
- Repeat the process of cutting the butter. Change your angle to create smaller pieces until they become a pea sized amount.
- Your recipe is ready to add the liquid ingredients now (eggs, milk, etc.)
What does it mean to cut butter into dry ingredients
Butter needs to be cut into a recipe only after all of the dry ingredients have been added together.
Dry ingredients include: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, etc.
The butter needs to be placed in the center of your dry ingredient bowl because the flour mixture must coat the butter.
The flour coated butter is easily cut into recipes because the flour coats the butter as it is cut. The flour acts as a barrier to enclose the butter. This way, the butter will not mix with any of the wet ingredients.
The butter will only be melted in the oven, creating a delicious flakey pastry.
How to cut frozen butter
- Freeze butter until it has solidified.
- Remove the butter from the freezer and using a grater, grate the butter into small pieces. Depending on your recipe you might want to use the smaller holes, over bigger holes.
- Grate until all of the butter is in pieces.
How to cut in butter for crumble topping
For crumble topping, you have a couple of different options to cut in your butter.
- Use your hands: this involves your hands warming the butter a little, and then squishing it with your fingers to create small lumps of butter for your crumble topping. Usually crumble topping is mixed by hand because it creates more of a lumpy mixture than if you’re using a spoon. The lumpy mixture is more desirable because the topping tends to look more coarse and not as uniform.
- Use a pastry blender: cut the butter into the topping by using a pastry blender. Keep the butter in larger chunks than you would a pastry, because the topping will be able to retain its moisture better. The topping should be coarse and look like nuggets for crumble topping.
- Use a grater: grate using one of the medium holes. Grate the butter and then mix the topping together with your fingers. Gently sprinkle the topping over your dessert, and then bake.
What does cut in shortening mean
If you’re cutting in shortening, this means to break up the shortening into small pieces. Use a pastry blender to separate the shortening into smaller pieces for your recipe.
What can you use if you don’t have a pastry cutter
If you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut the pastry into smaller pieces. The pieces need to be quite small, they should look like coarse crumbs.
Using 2 knives to cut in butter will take longer than using a pastry cutter.
Can you use a potato masher instead of a pastry cutter
You can use a potato masher instead of a pastry cutter if you butter is a pretty large piece. Once your butter becomes a more useful size to work with, switch back to your pastry cutter.
A pastry cutter has sharp edges to really cut the butter and not mush it. The butter will retain its shape instead of being pushed into a shape.
How to cut in butter with fork
To cut in butter with a fork, use your largest fork to cut into your butter. Hold your fork horizontally and press the fork into the butter to cut it. Repeat and continue cutting the butter with your fork until the butter is in coarse crumbs.
What kind of foods do you cut butter into
- pie pastry dough
- crumble topping