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Old 02-25-2005, 08:07 PM   #1
 
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unsalted butter or not

If a recipe calls for unsalted butter. do you actually have to put in unsalted butter. what is the differ between salted and unsalted butter (I do know that one is salted and ones not)? A differ taste? Don't get it. :oops:

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Old 02-25-2005, 08:52 PM   #2
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If you are baking than it might make a difference. If you are just cooking then they are pretty much interchangeable. Salted butter is usually a lower quality butter. The salt acts as a preservative so the manufacturer can use a lower quality butter and it will last just as long as a higher quality unsalted butter. Other than quality and obviously salt, they are the same thing.
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:55 PM   #3
 
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Thanks GB. I was just sitting here and thinking if there was a differ.
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:59 PM   #4
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I personally always use unsalted. I like to be able to control the exact amount of salt I put in things. Honestly though, the amount of salt in salted butter would be hard to detect in most dishes in which you are adding salt anyway. At least that is my humble opinion
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:00 PM   #5
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Normally, unsalted butter is specified so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. This probably wouldn't make as much difference in cooking as it could in baking and some sauces.

This example is a little extreme - but kind of the same idea ... say a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt, and you use 1 tablespoon garlic salt a 1 teaspoon salt. Yuck! :(

Since the amount of salt can vary from one producer to the next, unsalted sets a baseline of 0% salt and works from there with the rest of the recipe.

Yes, there is a flavor difference ... for things like buttering my pancakes, toast and biscuits I use salted butter. For everything else, I use unsalted.
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:54 AM   #6
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Unsalted butter will give you a better overall flavor, especially when finishing off a sauce. Keep in mind that they do not use a high quality salt in salted butter, so the flavor tends to have that bite that regular table salt can sometimes have.

For those who haven't already done so, I highly recommend switching to Kosher salt for your everyday use. The flavor is much more pure than regular table salt, and brings out more flavor in foods.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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I tend to buy unsalted, but sometimes do buy salted and haven't noticed that much difference. The latter has a longer shelf life (why they do it to begin with), and if I baked a lot, I'd stick to unsalted period. But, in fact, probably like most of us here, I grew up on margarine and it didn't kill me or my taste buds, and it took awhile to learn to like the real thing (and much of my family still prefer margarine). I also chime in with preferring salted when I'm just "buttering" something (as opposed to cooking with it). I guess I'm not a super-taster, because I can buy butter fresh from the dairy (I live in cheese-land, spitting distance to WI, but NO IL has a lot of dairies and cheese factories as well, and most of the latter sell fresh from the farm butter), and still haven't noticed such a huge difference in flavor. Butter also freezes very, very well (there are only two of us, so usually I buy a pound and three sticks go into the freezer right away).
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Old 02-26-2005, 03:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
Unsalted butter will give you a better overall flavor, especially when finishing off a sauce. Keep in mind that they do not use a high quality salt in salted butter, so the flavor tends to have that bite that regular table salt can sometimes have.

For those who haven't already done so, I highly recommend switching to Kosher salt for your everyday use. The flavor is much more pure than regular table salt, and brings out more flavor in foods.
I prefer Kosher salt, but cannot find a good grinder for it. Had a pepper grinder that got all bummed up with the salt. Now I only use a fine grade sea salt. As for salted vs unsalted butter, I use salted (have unsalted on hand for baking) as I do not use much salt in cooking. I only salt potatoes and eggs (unless I make a fritata or strata).
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Old 02-26-2005, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
If you are baking than it might make a difference. If you are just cooking then they are pretty much interchangeable. Salted butter is usually a lower quality butter. The salt acts as a preservative so the manufacturer can use a lower quality butter and it will last just as long as a higher quality unsalted butter. Other than quality and obviously salt, they are the same thing.
Thanks GB, I didnt know that salted butter was of lesser quality. I typically buy unsalted, and add salt to my recipes as needed.
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:22 PM   #10
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Pretty well covered allready.

I would only add that if you are into french food and make deglaze sauces that are thickened with butter at the end, unsalted gives a purer, creamier finish.

The best way to appreciate unsalted butter is on fresh , crisp crust rolls with appricot conserve and coffee as a continental breakfast. Any lapse in quality will be immediately apparent, and the pure creamy flavour comes shining through.

But I prefer some breads with salted butter. Salted butter is normally coloured with carrotene or similar to give it the "Rich" yellow quality. Not a big deal, but unsalted is the original white of concentrated cream.

If I were only going to stock one kind, it would be unsalted.

Unfortunately, butter is on the banned list.
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