If you’d care to join us, I would like us all to try a homework project: making Heston’s Acidulated Butter Recipe from Heston at Home.

Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal

We don’t plan to be as comprehensive as our heroes over at Covalent Cooking, but our copy of Heston at Home has provided lots of delicious meals (and a few moments of hair-tearing frustration) over the past 12 months. This is kind of our way of celebrating it’s 1-&-a-bit year anniversary.

Fellow Hestonthusiast Andy once noted how many of the Heston at Home’s recipes sneakily appear much simpler than they really are. Heston’s Cheese Toastie recipe (a snack) lists only a few steps, but its 3 separate fillings take around half a day to prepare. One recipe lists “Brined and Rinsed Pork Belly (p164)” as an ingredient, nearly 24 hours of extra work.

Same for the risotto recipes in Heston at Home. Relatively simple to make… provided you’ve already prepared Heston’s Acidulated Butter recipe, which is what we’re going to do today.

First time we made this it was a complete disaster. Fingers crossed we get it right this time.


Recipe: Heston’s Acidulated Butter

Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: None

Time: 1 hour (approx)
Cost: £4+ depending on quality of wine used

Serves: Many
Difficulty: Moderate


Step 1: Onion Infusion & reduction

Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal

Heston says the onion should be thinly sliced. We just ran ours through a grater, hoping greater surface area should mean more flavour transfer.


Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal


Please, please open a window for this next bit. Boiling vinegar for 20 minutes absolutely reeks. Last time I think we didn’t reduce by enough and the mixture split. This time we aimed for a thin syrup. A gastrique, if you will (Ta, Gary 😉 ).

Step 2: Whisking in the butter


You’re asked to whisk in the butter “a little at a time”. Our other mistake last time around was probably to translate this instruction as “chuck in 4 big, fridge-cold lumps”.


Really try to ensure your butter is cubed, and room temperature if possible. We added ours in about 8 portions, wincing for the 6 or 7 minutes that we scraped a metal whisk round our Teflon wok.

Step 3: Sieving and Chilling

Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal

After resting for 20 minutes the mixture is pushed through a sieve. There’ surprisingly little solid left. We attribute this to having grated the onion. The mix dribbled about a tablespoon of vinegary juice – perhaps the emulsion had split / leaked slightly?

Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal

We’ve wrapped ours into a neat, slightly wrinkled log. (At the rear. Alongside our vanilla and spiced chilli butters, also from the book). If you want to do this you’ll have to chill it for a bit first.


And that’s it. Don’t be tempted to taste this on its own, the strong vinegar flavour will be quite revolting.

Heston at home acidulated butter recipe blumenthal

We’ll be making Heston’s Beetroot Spelt Risotto recipe with this acidulated butter one night soon.

Let us know if you’ve tried making the butter, and if you made the risotto too we’d love some pointers.