The French Butter Dish is probably the most popular item I make in my pottery studio. I have been making them for several years and, I will admit, I love making them. Because they are such a unique part of Wildhair Pottery's "fun, functional, and decorative" collection, I thought it might be helpful to provide an overview of what French Butter Dishes are and how they are used, in case visitors to my shop are not familiar with them.
The first thing to know is "the why" or what I call "the function" of these dishes. Simply put, the French Butter Dish allows you to keep softened butter from spoiling, ready to spread, without refrigeration. My French Butter Dish holds 1 stick (1/4 lb.) of butter.
And now, "the how" which I like to think of as "the fun." The first thing to do is take a stick of butter from the fridge and let it soften a bit. It doesn't have to come to room temperature, but it should be soft enough to cut easily with a spoon.
There are two parts to the French Butter Dish - the base and the cup. Where is the cup? It hangs upside down from the lid into the base while assembled. That's right. It's not just a lid, it's an upside down cup! (Although not pictured, I've recently started decorating those too.)
• Remove the lid and pack the softened butter into the cup underneath. (I use a spoon to press the butter firmly to the bottom of the cup. It can fall into the water if not pressed firm.)
• Fill the base with enough water (approx. 1/2") so the open rim of the cup goes into the water when inserted. This creates the airtight seal that helps keep the butter fresh. See. Fun! Didn't I tell you?
• Before re-inserting the lid, I usually do a bit of cleanup, giving the rim a quick wipe. It can get a bit messy for my taste. Once the butter is packed in fairly tightly...
• ...the lid slips back into the base and, yes, the butter will stay in the cup. Now you're all set!
A Few Tips:
• Change the water in the base every 2-3 days.
• Wash & dry the butter dish between loadings.
• Butter kept free of food particles can be stored for 3-4 weeks.
• The butter can melt in warmer temperatures so be mindful of warm environments (80º F and above) and sunlight.
And now "the decorative." Here are just a few of my past designs of French Butter Dishes. These have all found their way to new homes and counter tops. If you decide to get one as a gift to yourself or someone else, feel free to check the shop or contact me.
By the way, I obviously loved making them so much this is my second post about them. Here's my first blog post about them.