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Old 08-04-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Compound butter: add salt?

I have a recipe for compound butter that basically consists of unsalted butter (which is what I buy anyway) + flavorings + a little lemon juice if you'd like + a little ground black pepper if you like. I was struck by the absence of salt in the formula, though. Do you add salt to your compound butter? If so, what kind of salt, and about how much? Thanks! :)

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Old 08-04-2009, 05:24 PM   #2
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My personal taste leans towards sea salt, but Kosher salt would work just as well. I would not suggest Iodized table salt. If you doubt this, do a side-by-side taste test, and I'm reasonably sure you'll agree. Anyway, whatever salt you choose, I've found that 1/4 teaspoon per stick of butter is a good place to start, and then add just a pinch more at a time after thoroughly mixing, tasting each time. Go for flavor enhancement without a salty taste. I love compound butter!!! Yumm! Good Luck!
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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Sounds good, and thanks for being specific! That's exactly what I needed. I keep sea salt and kosher salt on hand in addition to table salt. I think the taste test is a good idea! Thanks again. :)
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #4
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I do not add salt to my compound butter. Think of it this way. You already buy unsalted butter so why would you then turn your unsalted butter into salted butter? I can always add salt to whatever I am using the compound butter for.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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We usually use compound butter with steaks and sometimes roasted corn on the cob...We salt our steaks and corn so no need to salt unsalted butter

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Old 08-04-2009, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
I do not add salt to my compound butter. Think of it this way. You already buy unsalted butter so why would you then turn your unsalted butter into salted butter? I can always add salt to whatever I am using the compound butter for.
For myself, I only buy unsalted butter, and there are times that I make compound butter for items I don't salt in advance, such as garlic bread or bread sticks for the savory side, and peach or apple butter on toast for the sweet side. A very small amount of salt makes a noticeable difference, without too much salt that is found in normal salted butter.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:22 PM   #7
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For those times Arky, I sprinkle salt on after the fact. That way I can control the exact amount I use.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:25 PM   #8
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Taste the butter and add salt if you think it needs it.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
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For those times Arky, I sprinkle salt on after the fact. That way I can control the exact amount I use.
That's like adding the herbs and spices to a soup after it's in serving bowls on the table. Mixing in advance affects all of the blended compound butter and doesn't make the salting hap hazard after the fact.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:33 PM   #10
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That's like adding the herbs and spices to a soup after it's in serving bowls on the table.
Isn't that exactly what you are doing when you use a compound butter? You do not use a compound butter during cooking usually. it is for finishing (adding after the soup is in the bowl so to speak).

I would hardly call salting after hap hazard. In any event, when I make compound butter I make a stick at a time. I am not using the full stick in any one use so the butter will be used on various foods. I would much rather control the salt per that particular foods requirements then be stuck with salt already added which the food I am using it on may or may not need it for. For instance, when I cook steak I use a dry brine method which salts the steak from the inside out meaning there is no need to add more salt. If I were to then add a salted compound butter to that then it could potentially be too much salt.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:41 PM   #11
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Let's just agree to disagree.

Just as an aside (and NOT to start an argument) I find it interesting that in many of the finest restaurants, you won't find salt or pepper on the table unless you ask for them. The chef considers the food already seasoned when it comes out of the kitchen.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:42 PM   #12
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I always leave compound butter unsalted; most, if not all, foods I use it on are already salted prior to cooking. The butter is generally added at the end of the process, and if there is a little more needed for individual taste, it's added at the table.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:49 PM   #13
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There is nothing to agree or disagree about Arky. You do it one way and that works for you. I do it a different way and that works for me. There is not one right and one wrong way. Both ways can be right. It just depends on the end user.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:01 AM   #14
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I only buy unsalted butter, too - at least in stick form. I also buy salted spreadable butter for toast and the like. I really don't use stick butter for much beyond baking and to drizzle over popcorn, and I always add a bit of kosher salt to the melted butter before I drizzle it over popcorn. Distributes the salty flavor better that way.
So I'm certainly not opposed to adding salt to unsalted butter when I'm using it as a condiment or sauce. I just wasn't sure if there was some unspoken rule against using salt in compound butter, or a strong reason against it, because twice now I've come across recipes or formulas that don't include salt. I don't have much experience with compound butter - I've only made it once before, with roasted garlic, for a Mother's Day dinner. I followed the recipe, not adding salt, and when I tasted it just before putting it on the table, it tasted bland and ...well...unsalted, lol.
I ended up sprinkling sea salt on top before I put it on the table, but it still tasted a little flat. Salt makes other flavors come alive, you know? I'm not looking for salty, just - what's the word I'm looking for - vivid? I think I'll try it with just a bit of salt and see what happens. Thanks again for the replies.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:03 AM   #15
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Nope there definitely is no unspoken rule or any reason you absolutely should not do it. There really are no rules with compound butter that you need to be aware of. If it tastes like it needs salt then absolutely add salt. In the end, your taste buds are all that matter
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