Cooking w/salted and unsalted butter?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by thelonious, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. thelonious

    thelonious

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    Hi all,
    Stupid question, but I will ask anyway. I tend to cook with olive oil 90% of the time. I have seen some recipes and techniques where unsalted butter is used over salted butter and unsalted butter and oil can be used together for sauteing vegtables. My question is what is the purpose of the unsalted butter? Is it because the other ingredients of the recipe contain salt? Will it produce a certain flavor? Is it better to use for baking?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. headless chicken

    headless chicken

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    This is a control issue. With unsalted butter, you can control the total salt content in the end product where as its harder to do so with salted butter as you don't really know how much salt is in that knob of butter you added into whatever you make.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Most recipes indicate more salt than the butter in the recipe accounts for. But the dish will tend to be too salty unless you correct the amount you add.

    And you can know how much salt is in the butter based on ther nutrition labeling. 90 mg per tablespoon in the butter I buy.

    Iodized table salt is generally 2000 mg/ teaspoon so it's not too hard to figure out corrections for adding salt. however, for a saute, where the fat stays in the pan, you don't know how much salt didn't end up in the dish except by taste.

    In general, it's of minor concern as the amounts and total variations are small. There are exceptions if you're on sodium limited diets or in some baking. I was making a Devils Food cake on Saturday. Recipe called for a cup of unsalted butter and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Between those two ingredients, that's about 500 mg of sodium. If you used salted butter, that's 1440 mg in the butter alone, quite a bit more.

    Phil
     
  4. dano1

    dano1

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    not to mention the freshness aspect.

    danny
     
  5. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    And there is NO WAY you would want to use salted butter in a Hot Toddy!!
     
  6. scott123

    scott123

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    That is exactly why I won't go near unsalted butter. Without the preservative abilities of salt, butter just doesn't stand a chance. Unless you live near a farm. If I had access to freshly made butter, then yes, I'd use unsalted butter.

    Butter manufacturers try to extend the life of unsalted butter by culturing it. Imo, cultured butter isn't butter. It's like calling yogurt 'milk.'
     
  7. thelonious

    thelonious

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    Thanks for all the advice it is very helpful.
     
  8. artameates

    artameates

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    Im working out of James Petersons glorious french food now. Pg 7 says Dont try to clarify salted butter; it froths up and is almost impossible to work with. I have never tried clarifying salted butter, but heres one more strike against salted butter. Btw I only bought salted once, and it was an accident.

    I recommend this book. its amazing how much information he has put into this 700 page encyclopedia of french food. Theres a whole chapter dedicated to truffles!
     
  9. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    You can clarify salted butter. The salt ends mostly ends up in the solids anyway. Those solids are marvelous on popcorn.

    I don't notice a difference in the frothing between salted and unsalted during clarification.

    Phil
     
  10. scott123

    scott123

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    Neither do I.