I had a friend ask me why I had so much unsalted butter in my fridge, because she prefers the salted variety, thus leading to a salted vs unsalted butter in baking discussion. Want to know about butter? Keep reading, my friends.
Butter is a magical creation and has been around for literally thousands of years. It was buried with the Norse, used to shine the Greek’s hair and even used in religious ceremonies because it was considered so valuable. Can you believe that one? Butter was a commodity, pure and simple.
Sweet butter (unsalted) is different than the other varieties in that it contains less salt and will go bad quicker as salt has preserving properties. This also means that it’s better for baking as it allows you to control the amount of salt in your recipe. Using salted butter can increase the salt amount to almost double because it’s different between manufacturers and that’s why it’s hard to gauge just how much salt you have added, so using unsalted butter is best, especially when you have a recipe that calls for a specific amount.
When you cut into the butter, the outside color should match the inside, and if it doesn’t, you know that it’s not the freshest and I would recommend never baking with it. I prefer the freshest ingredients when I bake, and I assume that you do too so a good rule of thumb is this:
[Tweet “If the outer color doesn’t match – don’t use that butter!”]
This is what it should look like:
The color should match through and through, if not, well then you need to go buy more butter. I like the sweet cream kind myself, but churned is awesome too.
If you find yourself with salted butter and no time to run to the store, don’t worry. A basic guideline would be to reduce the amount of salted called for in your recipe by half. It’s a good starting point, but you may have to do some experimenting to get it perfect, but around here, they love to gobble up my failures. They could care less if it’s not perfect, they just want me to get out of the way and step away from the baked goods. I live with a bunch of weirdos, can you tell?
Salted butter is excellent for cooking onions, any dinner recipe, toast, you name it, but just be careful using it for baking, okay? I would hate to see you ruin a great recipe just by using salted butter. Have you ever made something and it came out saltier than expected, even though you followed the recipe to the letter? Your butter may have been the culprit. Ah butter…so good…but so evil!
Until next time – happy baking, my friends!