Handmade French Butter Dish
A couple of months ago, I saw an ad for a "French butter dish". It looked commercial (a little cow was frolicking on the ceramic lid), but the concept intrigued me. Fresh butter is packed into the lid of the dish and it is inverted into the base, which contains water. When the lid is on, a seal is created and this keeps oxygen away from the butter. The butter stays fresh and spreadable. It works very well in a temperate environment, but refrigeration is required if temperatures rise above 90 F.
Bread and butter are, my bread and butter. No margarine in these parts (although the dish works with just about any spread). I even make my own butter blend. Recently, I happened upon Sloss Potteryin Oregon (don't you love the web?). Jim Sloss replied promptly and courteously to my questions and he agreed to ship me one of his hand made dishes (in a nice blue). It's a beautiful piece. Jim wheels, glazes and fires them individually. There are no two alike. Sloss Pottery has been in business for more than 20 years.
I followed the instructions, packed some fresh salted butter in the lid and filled the base up to two thirds with water. I made fresh bread and waited for the boys to come home from school. Kids like new things and they were immediately intrigued by the concept. The dish has not left the toaster's side.
Note: Jennifer Davis, a frequent visitor to the site, has owned one of these dishes for a couple of years and she reminds us of the following: Just a word of caution. Keeping the butter in water will slow the rate at which it spoils, but it won't prevent it. Make sure to clean the whole thing out now and then. When you fill it, pack the butter in tightly. Air pockets can encourage mold to develop..