Butters - How to Melt
Butters - How to Melt
You can melt any of our semi-hard/hard butters in a double boiler or even a sort of "makeshift" double boiler consisting of a Pyrex glass pan submerged in a pan of water (with the nut butter in the Pyrex).
You'll want to make sure that water doesn't get into the butter in the process and you'll also want to heat the nut butter slowly (especially since Pyrex can crack if heated too quickly). Stir often and thoroughly to break up the stearic acid and distribute it, thereby tempering the nut butter just like you’d temper chocolate.
The idea is to heat the nut butters slowly and stir thoroughly to break up the stearic acid. Stearic acid is attracted to itself and tends to clump together and form little "beads" - like the white, grainy beads in shea butter or on the surface of cocoa butter - or the white "dust" that settles on the top of chocolate which has been in the cold.
So, you heat the butter up slowly and hold it for a bit in the melted stage. Then you stir it very thoroughly so that all of the stearic acid is well distributed. After you have heated slowly for about half an hour and stirred very thoroughly, your nut butter is tempered. You can now stir it into your recipe thoroughly or cool it rapidly so that it remains tempered.
By pouring it into small containers like ice cube trays to cool, you prevent any one piece of butter from having too much stearic acid, as all of the pieces are small and each should have a small, equal amount of stearic acid in it. You will then want to cool it quickly in the freezer so that the stearic acid stays distributed, too, and doesn't form into beads or grainy strands within the nut butter.
Do NOT put warm Pyrex into the freezer, as it will shatter and can shoot shards of glass. If you want to create tempered nut butter and not stir it into your recipe immediately you are better off pouring the melted nut butter into ice cube trays and cooling those. (Do not freeze longterm! You are simply cooling rapidly so the stearic acid doesn't have a chance to clump up while cooling.)
Pour the mixture into ice cube trays or a plastic/silicone/rubber container. Don't keep the nut butter frozen after that, though. Pop out the ice cubes of nut butter and store them in zip-lock bags or Rubbermaid containers in a cool, darkish place where the temperature stays even (but above freezing).