I live in northern NY and my kitchen is cold a great deal of the year - so mixing butter into bread dough takes much longer and typically leaves large chunks of butter in the dough. I often have to take it out of the mixer and kneed out the butter chunks by hand.
The last few times I've made an enriched dough (in this case brioche and rum baba) I've added the butter to the milk and warmed them together until the butter melted and used this in the dough instead.
I did not notice a difference - it kneaded and baked the same as before. (The baba's were my best batch yet - beautiful crumb, delicious). But just because I didn't notice a difference doesn't mean there isn't one. So my question is - am I missing something?
Can anyone elaborate on what difference using melted butter makes in the finished bread? (Does it change the structure, taste, texture etc?)
The only relevant comment I've found on using melted vs softened butter was from ATK testing it in a doughnut recipe; they said it made the dough feel greasy - but I did not find this to be the case.
Edit: I found a comment in another post, here, explaining how fat inhibits gluten development - this suggests a difference in the dough depending on when the butter is added, but not between solid or melted butter. Nevertheless, it does seem relevant so I linked it.