Table salt (vs) sea salt (vs) kosher salt

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by cooking_sherry, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. cooking_sherry

    cooking_sherry

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    I'm am looking for a resource that will provide an equivalant measurement when using different salts. For example: 1/2 cup of Diamond Kosher salt is the same as 1/4 cup of table salt.

    These are the salts I'm trying to find equivalant measurement for:

    table salt
    sea salt
    Diamond kosher salt
    Morton kosher salt

    I thought I had come across this information a long time ago in Cook's Magazine but I've looked through several old copies with no success. So, if anyone out there knows of a resource that could help I sure would appreciate hearing from you.

    Thanks
    Cooking_Sherry
     
  2. chef from va

    chef from va

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    variances in the grain of the salt will give you different measurements.
    a wonderful resource for finding measurements is the newest edition of the book of yeilds it is available through barnes and nobel and overstock.com. i find uses for this book all the time and is a wonderful addition to any cook book collection. i am not 100% posotive that there will be all of the measurements you are looking for but they should have some measurements and equvilancies for different textures and types of salts. if that resource doesnt work you can always test them for yourself and post the info on this site... i am sure there will be several members interested in your findings. good luck in your search and i hope i have been of some assistance. :chef:
     
  3. glenn

    glenn

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    I'm fairly new here, and I hope this question doesn't sound too moronic, but here goes. .... ..... I'm a complete amateur at cooking, but I'm a scientist, and was wondering what the heck distinguishes these different salts? Examples of salts include Potassium Chloride (KCl), calcium chloride (CaCl), and most common in cooking is sodium Chloride (NaCl). For NaCl, what is the difference between Kosher NaCl and non-Kosher NaCl? And what about Sea Salt. Isn't it just another form of NaCl? The scientist in me says NaCl is NaCl. Are there some impurities (non-NaCl ingredients) in something like sea salt to give it different flavoring?

    Thanks.

    Glenn
     
  4. andy m.

    andy m.

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    Glenn:

    You are correct. The impurities that travel with the NaCl are what make sea salt a different product. They add flavor, which can differ based on the source of the sea salt.

    Kosher salt typically contains no additives, just NaCl. Also, grain size is usually coarser than table salt. Diamond Crystal is a coarser grain than Morton's. This effects the measuring by volume, as a tablespoon of DC Kosher salt will hold less salt than the same measure of Morton's or table salt.
     
  5. markv

    markv

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    I think also that table salt has additives to prevent it from caking and make it free flowing. Many people feel that table salt has a more metallic taste than Kosher or sea salt. Possibly due to these additives.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    That's usually the iodine taste.

    Phil
     
  7. glenn

    glenn

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    So, when I see Kosher salt in a recipe, it's so there is no additonal flavor in the salt. And when the recipe calls for sea salt, they really want a lot of extra flavor (the impurities). When I was a kid, my mother used to tellme to use iodized salt because we need iodine and there isn't enought in our diets. Is this an "old wives' tale" or is it true? If it's a tale, why is there iodized salt?

    Andy M. posted avove that kosher salt is coarser grained than table salt. This moring I read from old archived posting that kosher salt is finer grained (and therefore dissolves faster) than table salt. So, now I'm confused. Is kosher salt coarser or finer than table salt?

    Thanks.

    Glenn
     
  8. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    NaCl is all the same size. You can get salt in any crystallized size you want.
     
  9. deltadoc

    deltadoc

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    Sea salt contains many varieties of "salts", the main one being, of course, Sodium Chloride (NaCl). These "salts" are ionic compounds, which means they are soluble in water. Examples might be Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Iodide, Aluminum Sulphate, etc. I tend not to think of them as "impurities" but rather they mimic, to some degree, the variety of salts in the human body.

    Sea salt made by dehydrating sea water in the sun will contain many other impurities, such as insoluble things like dirt, dead fish parts, bug debris, etc. Sea salt made by using pure water and filtration methods will contain less impurities, but will roughly be the same in terms of the constituent "salts" if the seawater comes from the same source.

    To gage how much salt to use for equivalency, take five different salts and weigh 1/4 C of each and make a table. By using ratios, you can determine how much volume of each to use to be using an equivalent amount. A theoretical example would be take two salts, 1/4 C of the one weighs 50 grams. The other weighs 75 grams. ( I don't know how much 1/4 C really weighs, cause I haven't bothered to weigh any. This is an example of the technique). Therefore 1 TBSP of the first salt would be equivalent to 2/3 TBSP of the second, because the first salt weighs 2/3 as much as the second salt.

    Hope this helps.

    doc
     
  10. andy m.

    andy m.

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    Glenn:

    I find table salt to be the finest grained of the three. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt is a coarser grain, while Morton's salt is a finer grain (I don't think it's as fine as table salt).

    Because of the coarser grain, kosher salt won't dissolve as quickly as table salt. It's why we have pickling salt - a very fine grain salt that will dissolve readily in the pickling solution.

    Another reason for using kosher salt is the coarser grain. It makes it easier for a chef/cook to pinch up a measure of salt and distribute it over the food.
     
  11. glenn

    glenn

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    Andy,
    Thanks for the clarification on kosher salt.

    By the way, in case anyone is interested, NaCl crystals are called "halite" crystals by geologists. If I remember correctly, they cleave in 3 planes at 90 degrees to eachother, thereby forming mini cubes or "rectangular cubes".

    The more that salt is ground up, the samller these cubes get. A big cube breaks up into several smaller cubes or "rectangular (longer on one plane) cubes".

    Finer ground salt dissolves faster than coarse grained, becuase the finer grained salt has more surface area per unit weight that is in contact with the dissolving medium (water, etc.).
     
    txkathy likes this.
  12. chef from va

    chef from va

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    all of these people replying to this simple question about salt, all of these well informed posts, I LOVE THIS SITE!!! :cry: brings a tear to my eye, :D and a smile to my face! keep up the great work guys :chef:
     
  13. beachbaby

    beachbaby

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    Sherry, regarding kosher salts and table salt, here's the information you're seeking:

    1/4 c table salt = 1/2 cup Morton's kosher
    1/2 cup Morton's kosher = 1 cup Diamond Crystal brand kosher

    There's no direct equivalency on sea salt because it varies by producer/region of production. Some are definitely milder than others.
     
  14. andy m.

    andy m.

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    This is true for volume measures. Your best bet is to use a scale. Weigh the quarter cup (or whatever) of table salt, then use the same weight of kosher salt.
     
  15. beachbaby

    beachbaby

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    Agreed. But these rough equivalents make a good rule of thumb, especially for people who don't own a scale (like moi!).
     
  16. beachbaby

    beachbaby

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    Oh, and something very important--kosher salts are not equivalent. Morton's is much saltier. A cook who is used to Diamond Crystal will find themselves oversalting food if they switch to Morton's.
     
  17. andy m.

    andy m.

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    BB:

    It's not that Morton's is saltier. After all, it's all the same sodium chloride!

    Your earlier post explained the difference well. You showed equivalents among table, Diamond Crystal and Morton's salts.

    The difference is in the grain size. Smaller grains pack closer together. As a result, a cup of fine grain salt contains more salt and less air. Coarser grains can't pack as closely together so there are more air spaces between the grains. That's why a cup of table salt or Morton's will make a saltier dish than one using Diamond Crystal.
     
  18. beachbaby

    beachbaby

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    I appreciate your point of view, but I believe you're wrong: it's not just grain size, it's grain size and density. Just as a chicken stock can produced in a way such that it is variously more concentrated or dilute, so can salt crystals. Diamond Crystal is produced in a way that makes the crystals fluffier, (I imagine a machine that works in a similar manner to that which makes panko). So beyond the volumetrics, I stand by my assertion that pinch for pinch Morton's IS saltier. As someone who began with Diamond Crystal and then moved to a place where I could only buy Morton's, I could taste the difference in my food. Years passed before I ever had the chance to discuss this difference with other cooks or read the science that proved what I tasted was true.
     
  19. andy m.

    andy m.

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    I guess we'll just have to disagree, then.

    Chemically speaking, the compound sodium chloride (NaCl) can only be produced one way. One atom of sodium bonds with one atom of chlorine.

    There is no way to "fluff up" a grain of salt. Any difference is only in the size and shape of the grains. So if a pinch of Morton's is saltier, it's only because you pinch more Morton's than Diamond Crystal.

    If you dissolved a pound Morton's salt in a gallon of water, and dissolved a pound of Diamond Crystal in a different gallon of water then measured the sodium content of the waters, they would be the same.

    For reading on the topic, I refer you to:

    What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L. Wolke - Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh
     
  20. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    With cooking, salt is always to taste anyway. There's a proper way to salt, and an improper way to salt. You're almost guaranteed to have the right amount by doing it the proper way. :)