Do you love cooking? If so, then you may have come across a recipe or two that calls for unsalted butter. But why? Honestly, even if you just love eating (and having others cook for you), you may still have seen the unsalted butter and wondered.
Today we’re clearing up some very common misconceptions about the difference between salted and unsalted butters, so that that we’re all a bit more informed about savoring the best foods life has to offer.
Let’s start with the basics. Salted butter is the household standard staple that most of us grew up with. Real, salted butter tastes delicious on toast or a biscuit, corn on the cob, or on top of a baked potato. The salt tastes good and is a natural preservative, so butter stays better tasting, for longer.
So, why would anyone choose unsalted butter? The answer has to do with the nature of sharing a recipe. When a cook creates an ingredients list, they try to account for precise amounts of each item to help you replicate as closely as possible the desired result for the dish. For that reason, most recipes account for the salt as a separate ingredient. If you use salted butter, it’s hard to determine how much will end up in the dish you’re making.
That’s because there isn’t a precise ratio in salted butters. Some brands have more salt added than others. So if you use salted butter in a recipe that calls for the unsalted variety, you could end up with a batch of cookies, a cake, or a pie crust that tastes salty rather than savory or sweet.
So, what do you do if you only have salted butter on hand? Cut down the amount of salt the recipe calls for. In general, you can safely start by halving the amount of salt called for, and then add seasoning to taste.
But there is one other important reason you might prefer to choose unsalted butter. Because it doesn’t have any salt to preserve it, the butter has to be a bit fresher. If that sounds appealing to you, and you don’t mind adding salt to adjust for the taste difference, then buying unsalted butter is the way to go.
Make sense? Now, go forth and find a favorite. Happy eating!
Still not sure how to choose, or just want to try something new? We invite you to stop by Oil and Vinegar Junction in Park City, and learn more! We have a passion for great, quality foods — and we love sharing with friends, family and loved ones.