When I stumbled upon The Butter Book website researching a recipe, I was impressed to say the least. Professionally filmed classes, proper techniques, & food science. Take my money! I am an advanced home baker and always up for learning more to help develop my original recipes I post here.
The marketing for The Butter Book is slick and I was ready to drop the $200 for a year’s subscription that day. I’m glad I did the 10-day trial instead. While a new ambitious baker may enjoy going through the videos over several months, it took me all of two days to go through the videos.
First, the good. The Ingredients Basics course has the most interesting food science tidbits and you should 100% start here. The Egg lesson is very informative and I learned the most from this video. The Equipment Basics course is great as well as I learned my scale will never measure small amounts well & I should go ahead and get a more precise scale for measuring out ingredients like yeast, salt, & baking soda.
The Not So Good
I know how much work went into the making of The Butter Book, so it pains me to critique it but when I looked for reviews from subscribers online or on their Facebook page, there were none. There are a handful on their Facebook page but they are all from March/April. Obviously all from a marketing push at launch.
I went to culinary school for a bit and the videos are shot just like they teach in school. Boring as hell. It is presented as if everything goes perfectly with warnings not to do too much of something without showing what a mess up looks like. For example, the macaron lessons say “Do not over mix or your batter will end up too watery.” What does an overmixed macaron batter look like?!
The demonstrations are also filmed way too fast, skimming over the topic instead of taking a deep dive into the details with teachers shot from the neck down. It feels so sterile. Like reading an encyclopedia. All the correct info is there but not exciting in the least.
I was really hoping for more thorough demonstrations filmed in real time. Yes, the recipe says to whip the egg whites on medium while you boil sugar to 240F then whip on high until it hits 249F but how do you go about multitasking both? How long does it usually take sugar to go from 240 to 249? Do I have to watch it like a hawk or can I get a sip of water real quick? This is the information I’m here for.
Links to ingredients and equipment are unhelpful. I am so disappointed in this because I want actual brand recommendations, like powdered food coloring. There are so many options online and I have no idea what’s good vs junk. The equipment brands that are recommended are all sponsors of the site. This is not explicitly disclosed and I find it real shady. Just disclose your relationships so I know it’s an affiliate link instead of an actual recommendation.
By the way, I have actually purchased & used all the products linked in my blog posts. I take product recommendations seriously.
Lastly, the website’s structure is maddening. It’s confusing and the amount of clicking needed to get to the actual video is ridiculous. From the home page; you must click the Course, then the Lesson, then Start Lesson, then finally Play. FOUR CLICKS FROM LOGIN!!!! For reference, it takes one click on YouTube to start a playlist of videos.
The most frustrating part is the amount of back clicking you have to do to get to the next lesson video. If you click on any of the tabs under the lesson video, you have to back click through each tab click to get back to Start Lesson page then finally back to the Course page. The next lesson in the course should either automatically load or there should be a link to the next lesson below it.
Is a Butter Book subscription worth the $200+ a year for home bakers? In my opinion, no. It is worth a month or two at $25/month but there just isn’t enough information there for a year’s worth of viewing.