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How To Use Butter Bell Crocks

The Original Butter Bell® Crock is a modern version of an authentic French beurrier. Made from high-quality, durable New Bone China, the Butter Bell Crock safely keeps butter at room temperature-- without refrigeration or the threat of spoilage or odors. Through the study of traditional and historic methods of butter storage, L. Tremain has recreated and improved this natural method of preserving the creamy texture and delicate flavor that makes butter the most popular and delicious spread in the world.

For more information on how to use the Butter Bell Crock please see the Anatomy of the Butter Bell Crock, Frequently Asked Questions, Helpful Hints, and Food Network's Unwrapped Video.

Anatomy of a Butter Bell

Is the Butter Bell Crock dishwasher safe?

Yes, the Butter Bell crock is dishwasher safe.

Can I use margarine (or other spreads) in the Butter Bell Crock?

The Butter Bell crock works best when real butter is used. Margarine does not have a spread-ability problem. Also, margarines are "oilier" and will not stay in the lid very easily. Though the Butter Bell can make a great serving piece at a party for other spreads or dips, it is not recommended to store other processed spreads in the Butter Bell crock, which often need refrigeration to stay fresh for extended periods of time.

Can I use whipped butter in the Butter Bell Crock?

Whipped butter is not recommended for storage in the Butter Bell crock, as it is less dense than regular butter. It contains tiny air pockets (hence the fluffiness) which causes the butter to fall into the water. In addition, ghee or clarified butters are not recommended for use in the Butter Bell crock.

Can I store herbal butters in the Butter Bell Crock?

Herbal butters are fine to serve and store in your Butter Bell crock, however they will not stay fresh as long as pure butter. Butters that contain fresh herbs will stay fresh approximately 5 to 7 days in the Butter Bell crock. This can vary somewhat, so use your best judgment before use.

Where is the Butter Bell Crock made and is it safe?

The Butter Bell Crocks are made in China by a top manufacturer of ceramic products. The Crocks are made from the highest quality materials and are completely safe, as they contain no lead or cadmium.

What are the dimensions of the Butter Bell crock, and how much butter does it hold?

Butter Bell Crocks have a cylinder shape. They are about 3.75 inches in length, width and height. Each crock can hold one stick of butter, or half a cup of butter.

Do not allow the butter to become too soft.

The butter should be firm enough so that is not slipping off of the knife before packing into the bell-shaped the lid. When the butter is slightly firmer, it packs into the lid better.

Make sure you press the butter firmly into the lid to remove all air pockets.

Air pockets within the butter create a suction effect when the lid is removed from the water, pulling the butter out of the lid. After each use, check the remaining butter in lid to ensure there aren't any air pockets. Use your knife to redistribute the remaining butter within the lid for better adherence tension.

Don't let the "Bell" sit out of the crock base for extended periods of time.

If it sits too long, it will start to melt past the optimal spreading firmness.

Make sure that the Butter Bell crock is stored away from sunlight and heat.

For example, do not store it on a counter near a stove/oven or on a window sill.

Use the coldest water possible when adding water in the base of the crock.

You might add a few small, smashed ice cubes if you live in a very warm climate. Make sure you change the water every 3 days. This step ensures fresher butter for longer periods of time.

Wash thoroughly between uses.

Like any dish, it needs to be cleaned.

View Transcript


Although, it may be sweet and creamy, there is a cold hard truth about butter. Butter, especially fresh creamery butter, has a spread-ability problem, and will absorb odors from the refrigerator very easily.

What if someone made a way to keep butter safe, creamy and at a perfect spreadable temperature? In the 1600s, French chefs did just that. People would make their own butters, and they would store them in these clay pots. These butter crocks kept butter safe and cool since there was no refrigeration. They were used for hundreds of years and changed slightly over time.

It wasn't until the 19th century that water was being used with the butter crocks. Water in the base created an air-tight seal to preserve the butter even better. But thanks to the advent of the ice box in the 1900s, these keepers of cream disappeared. That is, until 1996 when the L. Tremain Company in Los Angeles, California, brought back a new and improved version of this time-honored spread saver.

These butter crocks, known as the Butter Bell crock today, actually have a little handle on the top along with the bell underneath it.Today, 250,000 butter bells are manufactured every year. Here, up to 500 plaster moulds at a time are filled with a special liquid clay. Then they let the butter bells dry, which could be about a day or two days, and then they hand paint them, and then they go into a kiln and they get fired at a very high temperature. After seven hours in 1,500 degree Fahrenheit heat, Butter Bells are ready for use. All that's needed now is a stick of butter.

Once you soften the butter -- and it holds one stick of butter -- you pack that into the lid, you put cold water into the base, and then you can leave it on your counter top for up to 30 days without refrigeration. The perfect spreadable temperature for butter is a few degrees lower than room temperature, but when loading the bell, just be careful not to use another similar spread. Margarines really don't need to be kept outside of the refrigerator. They don't have the spreadability issue.

In the early days, butter was actually used as commerce and it was bartered and exchanged for merchandise in general stores. It has also been used as a cosmetic and a medicine.

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