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what does it mean when a recipe says "cut in butter"?

I see certain recipes say to 'cut in' the butter. What does this mean exactly?

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This usually refers to dough or pastry dough and means just what it says.

    Your butter should be cold. Take it out of the fridge 1/2 an hour before you need it. When it comes time to use it, cut the butter into 1/4 inch "chips", add to mixture and mix or knead well. The intention here is to maintain small, but visible "pearls" of butter.

    This is the fat content to the recipe that carries the same significance as the "marbling" in meat. It helps to fluff the pastry while cooking. Good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    Cut in butter

    Recipes such as piecrusts, biscuits and scones direct to "cut in" the butter into the flour. Butter for use in these recipes should be cool and firm. Cut the butter into approximately ½-inch cubes before adding to the flour. To get the light texture that these types of recipes require, the butter should be "cut in" with a pastry cutter, or 2 knives, or very cautiously with a food processor — just long enough so the mixture resembles a course meal. Over mixing will cause the dough to become coated with fat and it will be unable to absorb sufficient moisture, resulting in a tougher, less flaky piecrust or biscuit.

  • YSIC
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    usually seen in pastry recipes, this method requires you to take the allotted amount of butter, place it in the flour and "cut" it into the dry ingredients. you are not supposed to mix it "cutting" the butter, the end result will be course. you can do this in many ways - my mum literally uses two case knives and cuts the butter over and over again into the flour. you can also use a fork. you could also use an actual pastry cutter - they have a handle on the top and have a half circle of 4-5 separated wires at the bottom.

    i would not recommend using your hands. the heat will melt the butter and change the composition of the mixture. (a lot of times, pasties that call for butter to be cut in also call for very cold butter, ice water, etc. and there is a reson for that.

    good luck! :-)

  • 1 decade ago

    It means to smash the butter into the dry ingredients. This is usually done with a pastry cutter but can also be done with two butter knifes. Basically you and breaking the butter up into small pieces and coating those pieces in whatever you are cutting the butter into. When finished you should have what resembles coarse crumbs. This method is used to make biscuit and pastries and well as other stuff.

    Source(s): Personal experience
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  • Dave C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    for pie crust, cut in butter is to mix the butter into the flour so it looks like coarse cornmeal.

    How this is done without a pastry blender is to use two knives, or a fork or even your hands.

    The objective is to "cut" the butter into very little chunks that mix with the flour. You don't want to melt the butter or use melted butter since that defeats the purpose having butter in the crust. The butter makes for a nice flaky crust.

  • dee
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The easy way is to use a pastry blender, it's a hand tool in the kitchen. If you don't have one, then you use two knives, one in each hand. You start each stroke in a "crossed swords" look, pull each hand away from each other and repeat until the butter is in small pieces. Usually the directions will give you a hint as to the size the pieces should be. It will say "pea sized or resembles coarse corn meal , etc.

    With the pastry blender use just use a rocking motion with it to get the correct size pieces.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    cut in refers to using 2 table knives to litterally cut butter into flour mixture. I find it easier to use my God given fingers. I mash the butter or shortening or lard, whichever, into the flour and mix it in at the same time. It comes out looking like there are crumbs in it. Cake mixes have a similar texture. This technique is used for homemade cakes, pizza dough, homemade tortilla's, some breads, and the like. After that step, you add the liquid and then usually knead the dough ball at least a little. Follow your instructions. You don't have to use knives to "cut in" the butter. you can use a mixer with the pastery attatchment but I prefer my hands, I know the dough isn't overworked and I can "feel" that it is ready for the next step. Happy cooking!

    Source(s): Me, cooking since I was 8, about 35 years
  • 1 decade ago

    Take a fork, and mash the butter through the fork tines and the flour until it resembles a rough cornmeal or oatmeal sized crumbs. It's a little bit of work, but what it does is distributes the fat through the flour in little bits so that when moisture is added to the flour in the form of eggs or water, the gluten strands in the flour don't get too long and make your baked product tough or chewy. Some things that you bake, like biscuits, aren't supposed to be chewy, they're called 'short'. That's why they call crisco, "shortening'...because it keeps the baked item (and the gluten strands within it) 'Short'. A biscuit, scone, or pie crust are good examples of a baked item that is not chewy.

    Breads, cookies, etc. are supposed to be chewy and wouldn't necessarily mix their butter in by the same method.

  • 5 years ago

    Pastry Blender Definition

  • 6 years ago

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    what does it mean when a recipe says "cut in butter"?

    I see certain recipes say to 'cut in' the butter. What does this mean exactly?

    Source(s): recipe quot cut butter quot:
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