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Old 04-09-2007, 09:19 AM   #1
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Salted butter vs Unsalted ?

What's the difference, besides the obvious one?
Is one better for buttering bread, melting and dipping (as in clams, crab legs...), cooking with in a pan, baking, different smoke point??? Can one add salt to unsalted butter once it's melted and you have the same thing as salted butter?

The reason I'm asking is because I thought they were having a sale on salted butter, what I call regular butter, but it was on unsalted, so I bought a couple bricks anyway.

Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:22 AM   #2
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I use salted butter for everything, just like it better.
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:26 AM   #3
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I use unsalted butter when I do use it. When I took cooking classes they told us to always use unsalted butter.

I got this from the foodnetwork.com

Q: What's the deal with salted and unsalted butter?

A: Butter comes two ways: salted and unsalted. Salt is added to butter for flavor and as a preservative so it will have a longer shelf life. Salt, however, can sometimes overpower the sweet flavor of the butter and can also mask odors. Additionally, the amount of salt added to salted butter varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it's hard to know how much extra salt you're adding to a recipe. Using unsalted butter allows the chef to control the amount of salt in a recipe.


If you have no choice but to use salted butter in a recipe, the rule of thumb is to omit about 1/4 teaspoon salt per 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter.
Unsalted butter has a short shelf life because it contains no preservatives. If you buy unsalted butter and do not use it right away, it is best to freeze it. If properly wrapped so it won't pick up any odors, butter can be frozen for around six months. Just remember to defrost the butter overnight in the refrigerator before using it
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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I use unsalted most of the time for cooking and baking. But occasionally I enjoy smearing salted butter on my toast. I tried using unsalted for this purpose and sprinkle salt on top, but it is rather difficult to get just the right saltiness this way.
However I read somewhere that often butter with inferior quality is salted to disguise the flavour/texture.
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:20 AM   #5
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99% of the time I use unsalted, but I do keep a cube of salted butter in the freezer for guests who like to butter their breads. But I would never cook/bake with it.
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:20 AM   #6
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I'm one who believes that for the majority of applications, there is absolutely no difference. Our parents and their parents created some great meals and baked goods using only salted butter.

As far as needing to preserve the butter, I don't think butter is around long enough for it to go bad, salted or not.

99.99% of recipes that call for butter also call for salt. No one cooks without tasting so youget to make the final adjustment for salt in any dish before it's served.

I use both but mostly salted, saving the unsalted for baking and clarifying.
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb L.
I use salted butter for everything, just like it better.
Lol, Barb. I use unsalted butter for everything, just like it better.
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:34 AM   #8
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I like the unsalted...try dipping lobster into melted unsalted butter...very different. I like it better on baked goods etc. (and frankly my parents grew up with unsalted butter as they churned their own)
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
... (and frankly my parents grew up with unsalted butter as they churned their own)
Now that's fresh butter. Must have been delicious!
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:46 AM   #10
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If I'm baking a lot I by butter quite a few, say half dozen packs, at a time and freeze them....I go for salted because of keeping qualities and then just don't add a pinch of salt to my cakes/whatever...

Fresh, good quality unsalted butter is a delight, but I don't tend to buy it if its destined for the freezer or going to sit in the fridge for any length of time.....
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:52 AM   #11
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I'm with Andy. I think salted/unsalted butter is virtually interchangeble in most recipes and for most preparations. It's a matter of personal preference.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:06 AM   #12
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Most of the time I use unsalted butter, but I always have some salted butter on hand. I've never been much of a salt eater, so am sensitive to the saltiness of foods. I do prefer the taste of unsalted butter to salted and can definitely tell the difference, but I think that's because of my lifetime minimal salt consumption.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:27 AM   #13
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I prefer salted butter for cooking savory dishes and for sauces. The salt is the only difference. It's easire to add salt than to take away.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
I'm with Andy. I think salted/unsalted butter is virtually interchangeble in most recipes and for most preparations. It's a matter of personal preference.
I don't like to use salted butter for baking sweet items.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
I like the unsalted...try dipping lobster into melted unsalted butter...very different. I like it better on baked goods etc. (and frankly my parents grew up with unsalted butter as they churned their own)
Now I want some lobster to try this with. I've always only used salted for eating, and unsalted for baking.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:16 PM   #16
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Interesting responses. Opinions on food are always so taste based

I still have a couple sticks of salted left, plus some spreadable butter in a tub for my toast, so I really appreciate the replies saying that unsalted butter doesn't have the same shelf life. Looks like another task for my new Foodsaver
It also looks like a taste test is in order to see what my preference is. I just didn't want to screw anything up by using the "wrong" butter without checking.

Thank you all very much.
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Old 04-09-2007, 02:05 PM   #17
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I use salted butter the most. My applications do not demand unsalted butter. I use an alarming amount of butter. I use butter everday, on toast, in cookies, sauteing vegetables, on popcorn. The only problem I have experienced with the salted butter is that the salt level can vary. I just make sure I use the heavier salted butter in something not noticed, which is easy with my cooking. I like the preservation aspect too. Improves the flavor too, IMO. I have a better selection of salted butter than the unsalted in the local stores. But if I would happen upon a sale, I would not hesitate to purchase the unsalted, but the salted is my preference.
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Old 04-09-2007, 02:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
I don't like to use salted butter for baking sweet items.
I don't notice much of a difference at all, especially since most of these recipes call for salt anyway.
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Old 04-09-2007, 02:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis
so I really appreciate the replies saying that unsalted butter doesn't have the same shelf life. Looks like another task for my new Foodsaver .

IMO this really isn't relevant. Unless you are talking about keeping butter in your fridge for many months. I use both kinds and have never had either go bad on me.

Just put unused sticks in the freezer. No need for the foodsaver.
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Old 04-09-2007, 02:31 PM   #20
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When there is a good sale on butter, I pick up a few of each and throw them into the freezer. :-) You only need to use one stick at a time anyway.
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