Why you need this little wonder in your kitchen

real butter bell

I recently posted a story about a neat little heritage kitchen device that I use everyday in my home that is commonly referred to as a butter crock, a French Butter Dish or just simply, a butter keeper.  I had originally posted a photo I took of a inferior butter keeper I own  and then inadvertently referred to it as a Butter Bell. This would be similar to calling a cheap generic facial tissue a ‘Kleenex’. While both may be used to wipe a nose, there is a great difference in quality.

So, let me clear the air. The  Butter Bell® crock shown above is far superior in quality to the one I had originally posted the photo of and wrongly called the Butter Bell®. For that, I offer my apologies to all the good folks at the L. Tremain company as they definitely do not make a generic quality product but produce a high quality butter keeper that you’d be proud to own.

As many of you know, I never advertise a name brand product disguised in the form of a post. But, this is a blog about Heritage and Trail cooking so from time to time I need to give a heads up on a product in order to prevent you from buying inferior or copy cat products. An earlier example of this is in my blog regarding cast iron cookware and the warning I sounded about cheap, poorly made imports from China.

So, to photograph a quality product for my post here, I’m using the real  Butter Bell® butter keeper made by the L. Tremain company

It arrived quickly by mail and I immediately set about unpacking it from its well designed styrofoam and cardboard shipping box. No damage noted. I then compared it side by side to my knock off Butter Bell® butter keeper. What a difference in quality! The knock off Butter Bell® butter keeper had multiple obvious flaws, not only in its shape but especially in its glazing. Being so poorly made, it was no wonder the manufacturer did not bother to put their company name on it!  My advise in this post is this; If you are spending good money on a butter keeper and want top quality, then consider purchasing the Butter Bell® butter keeper over a knock off.

Now, back to my original post.

Tearing and then having to throw your freshly toasted bread away because your butter was too chilled to spread without damaging your toast is frustrating and wasteful. Having soft butter on hand is invaluable to the cook, the baker and the poor soul at 5 am trying to butter their toast. The biggest problem with keeping unrefrigerated soft butter available at all times is that it can turn rancid or moldy. In a short time due to ambient air, airborne contaminates and heat foster mold and rancidity. The common non sealed butter dish does little to prevent this.

moldy butter

Since oxygen is the main culprit along with airborne mold spores to room temperature butter, a better method was needed in preservation technique.  With the invention of creating a water trap which seals out fresh air in the 1800’s, the butter keeper prevents contaminate filled air from touching your butter, thus allowing it to stay at room temperature for an extended time without spoiling. Some of these butter keepers were huge and held many pounds of butter in them. For today’s kitchen, the present 1 stick capacity does a great job!

As I mentioned, this is not a new invention but one from at least the early 19th century. At that time it was called a French Butter Dish. One precaution here. Make sure you keep your butter clean and contaminate free. Food crumbs, jelly etc can contain mold spores, sugar and bacteria that can spoil your butter. Keeping your butter free of these contaminates is easy and takes only a few seconds before replacing the top.

Here’s a diagram of the L. Tremain companies Butter Bell® describing how their butter crock works.

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

                                                        Below are photo’s of my new Butter Bell® being readied for use.

most butter keepers hold 1 stick of butter

most butter keepers hold 1 stick of butter

Filled and ready to be turned upside down into the base portion which holds the water.

Filled and ready to be turned upside down into the base portion which holds the water.

A bit of advice;

1- Wash and thoroughly dry your crock (I mean real dry!) A wet crock will not let the butter adhere to the inside and it will fall out into the lower water receptacle when turned upside down for storage.

2- Fill the lower water receptacle about 1/3rd cup with clean cold water (or to the manufacturers recommended depth.)

3- After each use, I remove any specks of crumbs or contaminates that may have gotten in it to prevent spoilage.

4- When it’s time to refill your crock, It’s best you wash and completely dry it before refilling.

As I was waiting for my new Butter Bell® to arrive so I could use it in this post, I received an email from the L. Tremain company with an attachment showing a photo of one of their latest products that they are very excited about… A Cow Pattern Butter Bell® crock ! How cool is that? It matches my cow creamer and sugar set I keep displayed on my breakfast table. I need to order this pronto!

Can a person have too many designs? I think not!

Can a person have too many designs? I think not!

For more information about the L. Tremain Inc. Butter Bell® and how to purchase one, go to  http://www.butterbell.com. If you navigate through their website, you will discover lots of other quality kitchen products, specials and even pantry items. It’s worth checking out.

One further FAQ. Since I use my own kitchen to photograph most of my finished recipes in, from time to time I receive emails asking about a kitchen item shown in the background of the photo. I have had numerous inquiries asking about my coffee maker.

It is a Techni Vorm Moccamaster KGBT 741 with thermal carafe. They are hand made in Holland and sell for about $300. They are readily available online from many American sources. An interesting note is that in Italy and a few other European countries, a bride is given one of these as a wedding present by her family. If the bride does not receive one, it is a sign of bad luck. (BTW, it makes incredible Cowboy coffee too!)

For more info go to; http://www.technivorm.com.  See products.