The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Use a cheese planer to cut butter and relax


Photo: Cheese, butter and cucumber planer

Photo: Cheese, butter and cucumber planer

This might seem ridiculous but I struggle to butter toast every morning. We keep our butter in the kitchen rather than in the fridge but even in the summer the kitchen is a chilly place and the butter is rock hard.

I’ve tried slicing off slivers with a knife but it takes ages and the pieces tend to stick to each other. I’ve cut blobs and let them melt a bit on piping hot toast. This works sometimes but drives me mad, as the last two slices have cooled enough to hold the butter like icebergs. Danny isn’t keen on spreadable butter. The problem was beginning to really annoy me.

I kept on thinking about the butter balls that used to delight me in old fashioned hotels. Where could I get a tool for making them? This would be the answer to my breakfast hiccup.

Then this morning I had a brainwave. I was slicing some cheese with the cheese planer.  This is a nifty gadget. The Penultimate Paramour insisted that I bought it years ago. At the time, I thought it was dinky and faddy. But over the years have learnt to love planed cheddar cheese in sandwiches. Somehow it tastes so much better than thick lumps of clumsingly hewn cheddar.

As the toast popped up in the toaster I prepared a buttering board. My eye fell on the cheese planer. Why not try using the planer on the cold butter?

Well it worked like a dream. Lovely slices of butter as thin as gossamer adorned our toast.

I was so excited that when my friend Jo rang this afternoon with a computer problem I couldn’t resist boasting about my discovery. Her response was swift.
“Yes and it’s great for slicing cucumber too. I’ve probably got three knocking about my kitchen.”

Now this is a lady who uses a grapefruit knife to cut her excellent asparagus.

The fall from latter day kitchen equipment Einstein to someone who hasn’t even had the common sense to experiment with her kitchen tools was as swift as my next breath.

But someone out there might have been struggling with the same problem as me, so I’m posting this tonight.

Jo did say I was a genius for solving her computer problem so we’re still talking. And actually we solved the problem together. Which is the best result all round.

  Leave a reply


  1. kate (uk)

    The cheese slicer is a very useful thing- in Holland you can get different grades of slicer for different hardnesses of cheese. How could I resist?
    V. good for butter and for slivers of chocolate and the cucumber too.

  2. Toffeeapple

    I use Président spreadable butter, much the faster option!

  3. With 5 hungry adults in the house i find the ‘cheese thingy’ is the only way to make 2lb of cheese last more than 1 sandwich! It is also good for making ribbons of cucumber/courgette/carrot/any straight veg,as it gives slightly thicker pieces than a peeler(which i don’t seem to have anymore, having chucked it out with the compost, so use the cheese thing to peel if required)

  4. We resorted to one of these in America, it kept the butter warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer. Only problem with it was that it takes a stick of butter which is the way that butter is sold in America, would prefer a bigger one for a pack of butter now.

    During the winter we started mixing butter with olive oil to get our own spreadable butter.

  5. Brilliant idea! I live in Vancouver, Canada, which has a climate similar to Norfolk, so the butter in my kitchen never really gets soft either. As I’m not switching to margarine any time soon, this sounds like a great plan. Now to find a cheese planer…

  6. On the subject of new uses for kitchen tools, I’ve been using my veg peeler to shave radishes for the salad for a while now, and the melon baller, with which I have never balled a melon, is useful for pulling the core out of a quartered apple. Also for digging cocktail olives out of the jar – I do have an olive spoon, but it’s usually in the dishwasher because I used it to dig capers out the jar. Grapefruit knife is good for scooping tomato guts out for Tomatoes Provencal, but I’ll save one for asparagus- that’s genius. Now that hubby is on cholesterol meds, no more grapefruit, so it’s good to have another use for the knife. I would have to say my nine inch chef’s knife sees the most action in my kitchen- that and the honing steel and cutting board…fun subject.

  7. Saundra

    Butter in the kitchen would be liquid in the summer in GA. Just pour!

  8. Cookie Girl

    Sounds like a perfect solution. I do not like butter on toast, but we did have some recently in France on french bread. I find if I microwave butter, I always end up melting it too much. As I have no oven in France, (or heating) I took to setting the butter on top of the boiled kettle and the heat and steam from that would soften it quite well, well enough to spread anyway – french french bread is quite tough.. In terms of using kitchen tools for other uses, my most well used tool is a microplane grater which I use for cheese (parmesan over pasta), garlic (grated into most things..), chocolate, and also lemon and orange rind. It is easier to handle than a box grater, easier to remove the grated item, and also easier to clean.. My box grater now only gets an airing when I need to grate a large amount of cheese and have a more coarse texture. I have to say that my most luxury item is my Kitchen Aid..

    Oh yes, and just to add I have used my vegetable peeler for making those kind of long strips of cheese, butter etc. that you describe – it’s not as large as your planer, but would produce moreorless the same effect.

  9. amalee issa

    FGS Fiona you’re a Virgo! Ten second intervals in the microwave will soften your butter in the morning. And if by chance you over melt it, doing a million things at once (you are Virgo, Fiona) you can always scrape those bits (once hardened) onto some sweetcorn cobs from the bottom of the freezer (12-minutes for 6 cobs) for tea… I once found sweetcorn cobs three years past the sellby date at the bottom of my freezer, but that perhaps is for another blog… “adventures with my gut flora”


  10. Rae Mond


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