I’m not as huge an advocate of butter as some are, but butter has its place. One of those places should be at the table, ready to spread onto whatever baked good needs a bit more fat and flavor. Butter can transform a plain slice of bread into a flavorful treat. The challenge is that butter is typically stored in the refrigerator, and trying to spread cold butter onto soft bread is bound to ruin both. Butter can only be kept out for a short time before it spoils, and attempts to speed softening with the microwave often results in a mixture of melted and solid forms.
The solution is simple: a butter bell. This ingenioius contraption is a small bowl that is packed with butter then inverted into another container filled with a bit of water. The water creates a seal that keeps the butter fresh when not in use. When opened, soft, spreadible butter is at your disposal. The butter can often keep fresh for weeks at a time. An inexpensive butter bell can be had for under $10.