Is salted butter stickier than unsalted?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by carolbarrel, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. carolbarrel

    carolbarrel

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    I bake a good bit and have always used salted butter. Recently I bought unsalted butter to see if I noticed a difference. I used it in my chocolate chip cookie recipe and the batter came out really dry and powdery. Is salted butter stickier? Does it have more water?

    I ended up adding an extra half stick of salted butter (and lots of squeezing) to get the cookies to form. With the additional butter, the cookies are not as soft as usual. I thought the flavor was a bit lacking as well, but my taste testers are asleep so I'll get the final verdict tomorrow.

    I know many people (including on this forum) say they like being able to control the amount of salt in a recipe with unsalted butter, but at this point I will definitely be going back to salted butter.

    Thanks in advance for any insight into this!
     
  2. dillonsmimi

    dillonsmimi

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    Both butters (if they were the same brand) were identical except for the salt (which is used as a preservative). Most likely your measurement was off somewhere else. That being said...I LIKE salted butter. I always use it in my baked goods...the argument is mostly about baking being an exact science and the added salt will throw off your formula (more important in breads than anything else). IMO a lot of people undersalt when cooking and baking. Heck.. MOST people totally UNDERSEASON everything they produce. IMO.
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Mimi's post was very good. I agreed with all but one small thing.

    Shakespeare didn't say; "The fault Dear Brutus, lies not in the butter, but in our salt." And there's a reason he didn't. I don't know what the reason was, though.

    Anyway, the problem with your cake was caused by something else -- and I don't know what it was either. But it wasn't the butter or the salt. For one thing, there's not much salt in salted butter -- it varies a little by maker and region, but let's call it around 1/2 tsp per stick (because it is). So, you're going to thave to look for something else.

    People use sweet butter for cooking instead of salted for a few reason. They don't like salt in their baked goods; they want to control the amount of salt; 0 salt is more "consistent," and they like consistency; and there are probably others.

    That thing Mimi wrote about the precision measurement group was filled with insight, yet tactful. Brava.

    My small disagreement with Mimi comes about salt preserving butter; and it's not so much that I disagree with what she said. Rather, since the advent of refrigeration and freezing, salt shouldn't play much role in keeping butter fresh if you have one of those magic boxes that keeps things cold.

    Good luck on the next cake, may it be moist and especially delicious.

    BDL
     
  4. dillonsmimi

    dillonsmimi

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    Thanks, BDL. I agree with you about the preservation....was more or less repeating what I read a few months ago...salt in butter is there to cover up the rancidity (if it should occur) which as you pointed out is pure BS since the advent of refrigeration...;)
     
  5. kylew

    kylew

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    People use sweet butter for cooking instead of salted for a few reason. They don't like salt in their baked goods; they want to control the amount of salt; 0 salt is more "consistent," and they like consistency; and there are probably others.

    With the exception of Tuscan bread, I use salt in everything I bake. It's the consistency thing that draws me towards unsalted butter. If I know there is no salt in the butter I am using then I know exactly how much salt will be in the finished product, because I added it. If I am using salted butters from different producers then I have no idea how much salt I am going to wind up with.
     
  6. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Unsalted butter has no taste to me...might as well use vaseline :look:
     
  7. siduri

    siduri

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    I wouldn't go quite that far, but I agree, it tastes like a slightly milky-smelling grease. And I don't know if it's because of the lack of salt or because people don't know their butter here, but I find it usually somewhat rancid-tasting. But then again, Italian butter is often a cheese byproduct, and made in cheese factories, and smells of cheese.
     
  8. ishbel

    ishbel

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    For most baking, I use a French brand of unsalted butter, however, for all other purposes I use salted butters.

    I have to say that unsalted French butter (at least the brands I use) do not taste rancid or of cheese - but rather sweeter than unsalted.
     
  9. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    BDL is correct SALT at one time was added to almost everything as a preservative, it lingered with us I think ,because people got acclimated to the taste. Butter does contain varying amounts of H2O it depends on the brand and the price.. Butter used to be rated by score of which 93 score was rated A1. Today its by grade. I do not believe your problem was caused by either salt or butter.:chef:
     
  10. chris.lawrence

    chris.lawrence

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    I agree with Ed, and this could be your problem; if for your previous recipe you were using X brand with 18% water, then this other brand is 14%, when it melts, it will affect your recipe.

    It aint the salt, but it could be the butter.
     
  11. carolbarrel

    carolbarrel

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    Thanks for all of the input! I tried to blame the butter, but I guess it didn't work. ;) I may experiment more with unsalted butter, but I will ensure that I measure everything correctly next time!
     
  12. dillonsmimi

    dillonsmimi

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    You are welcome! The topic of salted/unsalted butter is a sensitive one! Almost as volatile as the proper way to prepare a rib roast...blast with heat then lower temp (my fave) or low temp until almost done THEN blast away to get that yummy, crusty exterior.....
     
  13. siduri

    siduri

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    That's probably because butter is a major ingredient in french cooking and people use it on bread, with cheese for instance, while Italians rarely use butter (at least where i am) and would never put butter on a sandwich, ever, not ever.
    So it;s mainly an ingredient for bechamel! and there, since you're usually adding cheese, it doesn;t much matter if it smells of cheese.
    Most houses where i've had breakfast when i ask for butter they pull out an old stick, cut right through the paper so the butter has had a chance to absorb all the nice flavors of the fridge, and i try not to gag. It was clearly cut for use in a bechamel. When i'd stay at the inlaws' i'd bring my own butter!
     
  14. jock

    jock

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    Salt is added to many foods to enhance their flavors and IMO it serves the same purpose with butter. I use USB exclusively in baking and cooking because of the salt control issue but salted butter on its own does taste better.

    "European" style cultured butter, even unsalted, has a much superior taste to regular butter. A much superior price too!!