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After more than two years of being hyper-sanitary due to the pandemic – from our hands to our products – we were very surprised to hear about the booming oil board trend. The total surface area of room temperature butter that anyone can dip their bread into? We thought we were past this perilous spread of germs, folks!
While the trendy version of the butter plank might be unhygienic, we don’t mind the general idea of uniquely flavored oils and carbs as a snack.
That’s why we’ve reimagined the butter board to be just as delicious, but safer, hygienic and guest-ready. In addition, this version is waste-free as each oil is self-sufficient, so leftovers can be saved for future use.
What is an oiler?
Exploding on platforms like TikTok and Instagram earlier this fall, butter boards have won the hearts of foodies around the world for their colorful toppings, aesthetic presentation, and play on the ever-popular sausage boards.
The premise is this: brush an entire cutting board or serving tray with high-quality butter, sprinkle it with seasoning, and then sprinkle with herbs, onions, fruit, or any other flavor combination that inspires you.
The problem with this technique is that it can quickly become unsanitary. Aside from the nightmarish consequences of softened butter seeping into a potentially contaminated crack in a wooden cutting board, the thought of multiple people dipping (and double-dipping) into a giant surface of dirty butter seems like a recipe for disaster.
But don’t worry, oil fiends: there is is a way to create a hygienic butter board. Here are a few safe tricks we came up with to keep the oily joy alive.
How to Make a Butter Board… The Smart Way
Be careful with the tree
The most important piece of advice we can give you when creating your oil board? Choose your surface wisely.
Any cracks in the wood cutting board put you and your guests at risk of staining the oil riddled with bacteria. Check the board ahead of time for cracks, or choose a different serving surface (such as this slate board) if you’re unsure.
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Accessories are your friend
Accessories such as molds and cheese knives are a must for a sanitary cutting board. Remember, we want to avoid the messy oil splatter that inevitably collects crumbs and germs!
The use of molds and other small containers ensures a cleaner and more organized distribution and also allows for more variety on the butter board. Instead of one flavor combination, you can make several different sweet, savory, and umami forward molds.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about cleaning your cutting board after the party is over.
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And don’t forget to provide (adequate) serving knives. This will minimize the chance of people dipping directly into the oil with their hands. Cheese syringes are great for soft butter, while a hard cheese knife is better for something like a butter log (more on that later).
With more utensils available to people, cooking butter board becomes less crumbly and more appetizing.
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Try an oil magazine
Another fun way to serve butter without the mess? Turn it into a sliced log!
Butter is a solid log, meaning you can cut it straight into individual servings. In addition, this technique makes it easy to experiment with flavor combinations.
Simply toss some butter with your preferred seasoning into a food processor – we chose graham crackers for the s’mores theme – then shape it into a log with plastic wrap. Leave it to cool and harden in the refrigerator for a few hours, and then take it out of the plastic when guests start arriving. Surround the log with additional toppings.
You can also form a rectangular shaped butter log using a suitable container or bread pan. With this technique, you can create a layered effect with additional toppings such as fig jam. Simply line the container with plastic wrap, use an offset spatula to add the jam and then the softened butter, and let it set in the refrigerator. Use plastic wrap to carefully remove the log and turn it over when it’s time to serve.
After the log is placed on the butter board, add toppings such as nuts, herbs, or edible flowers to complete the presentation. And don’t forget to keep a serving knife handy.
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Don’t Forget Accompanying
In the same way that a good cheese board needs supporting characters (such as fruits, meat, and nuts), a good butter board needs the same ones.
Cars for spreading butter like baguettes and crackers are no problem here. Just make sure your bread is pre-sliced (so it’s easy to take) and that you have options. Everybody guests, including gluten-free crackers.
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Since butter has such a high fat content, you will need salty foods to offset this intensity. Additives such as pickles, olives, and giardiniera add a spiciness that reduces the fat content of the butter.
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You can also base your choice of accompaniment on what is in the oil. For example, butter with scallions can go well with an extra all-flavored cracker, while sweet butter can go great with biscuits or graham crackers.
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Get creative with flavors
As we mentioned earlier, using these techniques and accessories not only promotes cleaner eating, it also allows for more creativity in your spread.
We made our buttered s’more log by blending the butter with graham crackers in a food processor and topping it with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows for a buttery s’more flavor. More graham crackers were placed on the side for serving.
And for the moldable butter spread, we blended the butter with garlic and rosemary in a food processor for a savory version everyone will love.
But feel free to experiment until you find your new favorite combination. Try basil and sun-dried tomatoes for pizza flavor. Grind oreo crumbs for a delicious dessert. You can also reduce the butter with cream cheese, sour cream or fresh goat cheese in a food processor for a more unique texture and flavor.
Because butter is so versatile, the possibilities are almost endless.
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