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Thread: Unsalted butter and salted butter help!

  1. #1
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    Unsalted butter and salted butter help!

    Hi all,

    Quick question that needs an immediate answer - I am making Nestle recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It calls for 2 sticks of Land'a'lakes butter (I am assuming it's using salted butter since it does not specify unsalted). I only have unsalted butter on hand.

    How much salt should I add to make up the difference?

  2. #2
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    I always thought the default assumption was unsalted butter!

    Angela

  3. #3
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    I wouldn't add any salt. I'm with Angelina in that I assume it's unsalted butter for baking. Besides the amount of salt is insignificant in salted so it's not going to matter in the end...JMHO!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles
    I wouldn't add any salt. I'm with Angelina in that I assume it's unsalted butter for baking. Besides the amount of salt is insignificant in salted so it's not going to matter in the end...JMHO!
    Haha... if you are right.. then I have been using salted butter for a long time incorrectly!

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    If I was to add any it'll be just a pinch but I don't think I'd worry about it too much
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    Misplaced CA in PA

  6. #6
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    There are various opinions on the subject but the only difference is the shelf life of the product...salted's being longer. When I have used salted in a recipe I have always reduced the amount of salt. Assuming your recipe has salt listed as an ingredient then I think you're safe with the unsalted and no changes.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  7. #7
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    If a baking recipe doesn't specify, then the writers mean UNSALTED.

    I have a few recipes where salted butter is specified.

    There have been a number of threads on this.

    The reason why unsalted is the default for baking is that a good recipe writer wants to control the ingredients as much as possible. There is no way of telling HOW MUCH salt there is in salted butter and baked goods generally use a small amount to start with leaving little room for error. If you are cooking with butter, then it doesn't matter since you can adjust the flavoring after cooking.

    Historically better butter was unsalted since salt can hide the absolute pristine flavor of fresh butter -- for real butter aficionados, there is a different taste depending on what kind of grass the cows ate for example. Also, salt is a preservative.

  8. #8
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    For my soft,chewy chocolate chip cookies I only use unsalted butter and about 1 teaspoon salt

  9. #9
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    I guess I've been doing it wrong, but I always assume salted unless the recipe specifies, since my baking cookbooks are always careful to spell out unsalted. I've always made Toll House cookies with salted butter. Of course, mom used margarine....

  10. #10
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    Well I used to the unsalted butter - and the cookies turned out great as normal... so in the end... I have no idea if I was supposed to use salted or unsalted. I had only used unsalted previously when it specifically specified it.... however, maybe all baking recipes assume unsalted.

    Either way it didnt appear to make much difference in the cookies - and as sneezles said... the recipe did call for a teaspoon of salt... so perhaps it was assuming unsalted.

    Thanks again for the help!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispywafers
    Well I used to the unsalted butter - and the cookies turned out great as normal... so in the end... I have no idea if I was supposed to use salted or unsalted. I had only used unsalted previously when it specifically specified it.... however, maybe all baking recipes assume unsalted.

    Either way it didnt appear to make much difference in the cookies - and as sneezles said... the recipe did call for a teaspoon of salt... so perhaps it was assuming unsalted.

    Thanks again for the help!
    \

    Some of the confusion is caused because cookbook editors can't assume a general knowledge of cooking in readers/users. The historical default for baking is unsalted and if unstated in a recipe means unsalted. If a recipe stated unsalted, it doesn't mean that the default has switched to "salted" -- it merely means that the editor has decided that the potential user might not realize this and wants to be certain that the user uses unsalted rather than relying on the user knowing this because they are more experienced baker/cooks.

    If you start reading prefaces and articles about baking -- I am an inveterate reader of cereal boxes metaphorically, you will see in the "hints & tips" for the Christmas Cookie magazines, that the editors will advice they mean unsalted if not specified. Some of the food science writers will also explain why the default is unsalted unless specified otherwise.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispywafers
    and as sneezles said... the recipe did call for a teaspoon of salt... so perhaps it was assuming unsalted.

    Thanks again for the help!
    Glad your cookies turn out ok.

    Even that amount of salt isn't crucial to a cookie recipe. It's just part of our culture's clogged taste buds!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=veschke]I guess I've been doing it wrong, but I always assume salted unless the recipe specifies, since my baking cookbooks are always careful to spell out unsalted. I've always made Toll House cookies with salted butter.

    Me too! Hmmm....
    ~JW~

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by veschke
    I guess I've been doing it wrong, but I always assume salted unless the recipe specifies, since my baking cookbooks are always careful to spell out unsalted. I've always made Toll House cookies with salted butter.
    Ditto.

  15. #15
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    It looks like the default is SALTED for cooking and UNSALTED for baking

    http://www.wisdairy.com/butter2005/choosingbutter.asp
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbb113
    It looks like the default is SALTED for cooking and UNSALTED for baking

    http://www.wisdairy.com/butter2005/choosingbutter.asp
    Makes sense...I never even buy salted butter. Sometimes I have it because my Mom (she keeps hoping she will get try my baked goodies, but they never survive my husband long enough...love you, Mom!) will see it on sale somewhere and get it for me, but she doesn't remember to check if it's salted or unsalted. If it's salted, I will only use it for cooking.

    Angela

  17. #17
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    Big difference for baking.

    My darling husband who is a fabulous cook always uses salted butter. Well I sent him to the store for unsalted for this huge baking project I was doing - I needed like 16 pounds I think - and he came back with all salted. We aren't going to run out for a LONG time! Thank goodness for a fridge in the basement.

  18. #18
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    On a related note, does anyone know why Costco only has salted butter? It irritates me to no end because they have such good prices on butter and when I'm doing massive baking projects, I'd love to buy it in bulk there.
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  19. #19
    Our Costco carries both salted and unsalteed, in both 1-lb. bricks and the 4 quarters. Accidentally buying 4 1 lb. bricks instead of the quarters is NO FUN.

  20. #20
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    The man who was stocking the butter shelf the last time I bought told me that salted butter in baked goods can cause a tougher, drier result.

  21. #21
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    FWIW, TJ always has good prices on regular unsalted butter as well as Plugra. I used the Plugra last year for some Christmas baking.

  22. #22
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    From the looks of things here, I guess I've been doing it wrong for years. I only use unsalted when the recipe specifies.

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