SALT

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oldcoot

Senior Cook
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Feb 4, 2003
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487
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USA,California
Read a recipe this morning that called for "unsalted butter" and in the next line, "coarse salt"

I've read that the reason for using unsalted butter is to enable the chef to control the amont of salt - but if one uses salted butter, cannot one still control the amont of salt by using a tiny tad less? The amount of salt in btter is quite small, after all.

The use of coarse salt: if the salt is to be dissolved in the product, what possible difference can its coarseness make, other than affecting the amount in a given volume, i.e. a tsp, etc.?

Then, too, recipes often call for kosher salt. Kosher products are supposedly more pure. But with plain ol' Morton's table salt being at 99.9% pure, I question that Kosher is more pure than that. Of course, kosher is a litle larger crystal than table salt, but as to that, I refer to the previous coment.

Any opposing opinions?
 

Zereh

Head Chef
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Aug 14, 2004
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Bellevue, WA
There is most definitely a difference in taste between Sea Salts, Kosher salts and Morton's ~ and Morton's will lose every time, no doubt about it.

I highly recommend splurging on a good Sea Salt, my favorite brand is Eden's. I don't use it for baking or cooking, but it's always what I use to salt before serving. I can't even describe the taste, but it's fantastic. It has real flavor, it's not just "salt". I guess the best analogy I can come up with is it would be like comparing Cook's champagne to Dom Perignon...

I've never fussed about with using salted / unsalted butter. I always just use whatever I happen to have on hand. Cutting down a tad on the salt you add if you use salted butter makes sense to me. But I never even bother to do that to tell you the truth.

;)
Z
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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USA,Michigan
I prefer unsalted butter. It's flavor is better for many of the things I make. Salt is added to butter to retard rancidity.

As for the Kosher salt, it is a shaved product, giving it more surface area per unit volume. This allows it to do its job, which is absorbing the blood from meat. I has very little to do with the salt purity. For the same reason, kosher salt is used in some recipes as it disooves mor quickly than its granuslated cousins.

Sea salt has many other minerals that tag along, and who knows what else. it won't have any harmful biological agents with it as the salt is a hopotonic compound. It sucks the moistier from the critters, distroying them. That's how it helps retard spoilage.

There are other factors such as how finely the slat is ground. The more coarse salt has a more pronounced flavor in the mouth. Think of hard prezzles. This puzzles me though as it is slower to dissolve, thus I would think unable to distribute itself to the taste buds.

Anyways, that's what I know about sodium chloride, one of the many compounds in the salt family.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North.
 

oldcoot

Senior Cook
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Feb 4, 2003
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USA,California
A major reasson for the inclusion of salt in foodstuffs is to enhance flavor. True, it is also used extensively in gross amounts as a preservative, but is relatively ineffective for that purpose in small quantities. So, in the case of butter, while the little salt added may slightly retard rancidity (hardly necessary in areas with refrigeration), its prime purpose is the enhancement of the butter flavor. Personally, unlike Goodweed, I prefer salted butter, finding unsalted too bland. That may well be a result of the aging process - mine, not butter's.

I don't for a moment qestion that sea salt [a poor name: it all comes from sea water - present or ancient] tastes different from table salt. As Goodweed and I have mentioned, sea salt is simply impure salt, containg potentially a myriad of other chemicals - which can certainly in this day and age include some of the more undesireable ones!

I agree that crystal or grain size can have several effects in the case of undissolved salt. But once dissolved, salft dissociates into chlorine and sodium ions, which are what we "taste", and grain size has nothing whatever to do with it.


And yes, Goodweed, "Salt" is but one of many, many salts, which are defined as the result of combining and acid - such as hydrochloric acid - with a base or alkaline such as sodium hydroxide (lye). The result of that combination is sodium chloride (table salt) and hydrogen hydroxide (water). Many other salts are toxic, and many of such toxic salts are present in sea water, worldwide. While their amounts insea salt are probably negligible, such can be additive to other sources (food, atmosppheirc, industrial, etc) which suggest to me it is probably better to stick with purified salt.

Then too, there's that little matter of enlarged Thyroid gland, or Goiter. When was the last time you saw someone suffering from that malady? What eliminated that once common problem? Iodized salt. It brough dietary Iodine to the masses of people who lived too far from the sea to get ocean fish to get the essential amount
 

marmalady

Executive Chef
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Sep 3, 2004
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USA,SouthCarolina
I think this is one of those debates where we just have to say, 'well, if you want to use 'regular' salt, feel free; if you want to use kosher/coarse, feel free; if you want to use sea salt, feel free ;)
 

Psiguyy

Sous Chef
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
843
I mostly use salted butter. Salt in butter works not only as a flavor enhancer, but it works to keep the butter fresh. Same age butter, one salted and one unsalted, the salted butter will keep longer and taste fresher than the unsalted.

Most of the recipes I make are older which means they were written in the days when all consumer butter was salted. Most recipes that call for unsalted, you can use salted. If you substitute unsalted for salted, you'll need to adjust your recipe and add salt. Often times, a recipe will produce a flat tasting product if you don't add salt. Even sweet recipes are enhanced with the addition of salt.

The worst tasting cookie is a shortbread cookie that's made with flour, sugar, and unsalted butter. FLAT tasting. Use salted butter or add salt to the unsalted butter and the cookie will taste rich and flavorful. Nobody will ever convince me that you can substitute unsalted for salted without adjusting the recipe because my experience with shortbread cookies says otherwise.
 

choclatechef

Washing Up
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Sep 1, 2004
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oldcoot said:
Then too, there's that little matter of enlarged Thyroid gland, or Goiter. When was the last time you saw someone suffering from that malady? What eliminated that once common problem? Iodized salt. It brough dietary Iodine to the masses of people who lived too far from the sea to get ocean fish to get the essential amount

I hate to tell you this oldcoot, but I have been eating foods with iodized salt all my life and guess what! I have hyperthyroidism/goiter!
 

oldcoot

Senior Cook
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Feb 4, 2003
Messages
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USA,California
Sorry to hear that, choclatechef, but nothing works for everyone!


The sole prprpose of adding iodine to salt was, as I said, to eliminate the primary cause of hypothyroidism )goiter) which is a lack of dietary iodine. And the tremendous reduction in the frequency of goiter in developed countries - particularly the USA - attests to the success of that addition.



Psiguyy, my BW makes Shortbread from a "secret" recipe handed down by her Scottich forebears for generations. It is the most tasteless stuff I've ever tried. And she is an outstandingly good cook! I'll have to check the "secret" recipe and see if it calls for salt! :D [
 

Psiguyy

Sous Chef
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Aug 24, 2004
Messages
843
oldcoot said:
Psiguyy, my BW makes Shortbread from a "secret" recipe handed down by her Scottich forebears for generations. It is the most tasteless stuff I've ever tried. And she is an outstandingly good cook! I'll have to check the "secret" recipe and see if it calls for salt! :D [

I threw away enough dough to make 8 cookie sheets worth of shortbread cookies because I used unsalted butter for the first time. I'm talking solid cookie sheets. Not cut. I cut the bars after I bake the whole sheet's worth. I'm glad I actually tasted the first batch that came out of the oven. If I didn't, I would have baked the whole 8 sheet's worth and given them away for Christmas. They were horrible. Took me a while to figure out what happened.
 

tweedee

Head Chef
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Aug 25, 2004
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Southeast, Kansas
I've never quite been able to understand the difference between all the different salts so if or when I use salt at all It's just regular morton salt but I do use a lot of different kinds of seasonings.
 

GB

Chief Eating Officer
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Jul 14, 2004
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USA,Massachusetts
oldcoot said:
Kosher products are supposedly more pure.

This is a very very common misconception. Kosher foods have absolutely nothing to do with their purity or how healthy they may or may not be.

As for salted vs. unsalted, I prefer unsalted. I do not agree that using unsalted enables better control. The amount of salt used in butter is very small and would not generally be noticed in most cases. I use unsalted because I like the taste better.
 

jennyema

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Boston and Cape Cod
Salt: http://www.saltinstitute.org/4.html

Just remember that a t of kosher salt dissolved in water will taste LESS SALTY than a t of table salt. This is because of crystal size -- the larger crystal size of kosher salt means less salt is in the teaspoon.

So if your recipe calls for kosher and you use table, use less. And vice versa.

Bakers usually like to use table salt because it they say dissolves better in baked goods.
 

Psiguyy

Sous Chef
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
843
jennyema said:
Salt: http://www.saltinstitute.org/4.html

Just remember that a t of kosher salt dissolved in water will taste LESS SALTY than a t of table salt. This is because of crystal size -- the larger crystal size of kosher salt means less salt is in the teaspoon.

So if your recipe calls for kosher and you use table, use less. And vice versa.

Bakers usually like to use table salt because it they say dissolves better in baked goods.

I use fine table salt in all my baking. I find that in some cases, kosher salt doesn't dissolve or disperse as well, leaving pockets of saltiness. Besides, in my book, if a recipe doesn't specify kosher salt, I assume they're talking about table salt. Using kosher salt as a sub for table salt reauires adjustment because of the lower density of kosher salt.
 
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