Butter is a key ingredient in many dishes. It’s used in all sorts of recipes, from desserts to savory dishes. When using butter, it is important to know the difference between salted vs unsalted butter in order to get your recipes just right.
Many people always have some type of butter in their fridge. There are many uses for both salted and unsalted butter. However, they can not always be used interchangeably.
Salted vs Unsalted Butter
As the names say, the difference between salted and unsalted butter is the salt. Unsalted butter is made strictly of cream, whereas salted butter has salt added to it, with the amount varying by brand.
Both salted and unsalted butter are made from cream being churned. After the cream has been churned, the milk fat clumps together to form butter and the liquid portion is taken out to form buttermilk.
The salt that is then added to salted butter acts as a preservative, which allows the butter to have a shelf life of around five months. Unsalted butter, on the other hand, has a shelf life of approximately three months.
Salted vs Unsalted Butter: Knowing When to Use Which One
Typically salted butter is used for savory dishes and unsalted butter is used for desserts. Savory dishes allow for more room to have additional salt, whereas the amount of salt in desserts affects the taste and texture. It is important to make sure you check your recipe prior to making it to be certain you are using the right kind of butter.
Using Unsalted Butter
Unsalted butter is usually used in baked goods because it allows the flavors you use to really come through. Since the amount of salt varies in salted butter, using unsalted butter allows you to control the right amount of salt you need. Some of the most common recipes that will specify for unsalted butter are cookies, cakes, and frostings.
In many dessert recipes, getting the ingredients right is key to a good bake. That is why many recipes will call for unsalted butter and then call for a certain amount of salt to be added. Using unsalted butter gives you the ultimate control in flavor for your dish.
Unsalted butter also tends to be fresher than salted butter, which is another reason why it is often used in desserts. However, unsalted butter doesn’t taste that good if you eat straight as a spread, since the salt helps give it the flavor people love.
Even though unsalted butter has a shelf life in the fridge for up to three months, you can freeze your unsalted butter for later if you don’t use it at that time. Unsalted butter can last in the freezer for up to six months. You can then thaw your butter overnight in the fridge when you are ready to use it.
Using Salted Butter
Salted butter is great for topping foods such as waffles, bread, and pancakes. It is also perfect for adding to pasta and vegetables. Salted butter is more commonly used in adding some extra flavor to dishes or as a spread, but some recipes do call for salted butter when making them.
Salted butter is a good choice for sauteing, basting, cooking meats and making eggs. The added salt can be beneficial in providing extra flavoring.
Salted butter does have a longer shelf life than unsalted butter. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage, as it allows you to use the butter longer, but it also means it won’t be as fresh as unsalted butter.
Another disadvantage of salted butter is there is no regulation of how much salt is added. Some brands can have up to double the amount of salt than other brands. This can have a big impact on your recipes if you use salted butter.
Salted vs Unsalted Butter: The Best One to Use
Many people will agree if you do a lot of baking that unsalted butter is the best one to use. It allows you to have total control over the salt content and will provide a fresher, creamier taste. It is easy to add salt to unsalted butter to give it the flavor you want, whether you are baking with it or using it for other things.
Salted butter is good to have around if you like to use butter as a spread. It can also be used in making savory dishes, where the amount of salt used can vary more than in desserts.
Substituting Salted and Unsalted Butter
If you do not have the butter called for in the recipe you are making, you can substitute it with the butter you have. Typically, if you need unsalted butter and all you have is salted butter, reduce the salt by ¼ a teaspoon for every half cup of butter. If you need salted butter and all you have is unsalted butter, add ¼ a teaspoon of salt for every half cup of butter.
Though it is always ideal to use the butter called for in the recipe, substituting will generally work just fine as long as you adjust accordingly. It is also important to remember to let butter reach room temperature before using it to bake. Butter that is too cold or has melted will affect the texture and taste of your desserts.
A Kitchen Necessity
Butter is an important ingredient in many dishes, both sweet and savory. It provides recipes with flavor, as well as giving them a rich, creamy texture. Be sure to check if the recipes you are making call for unsalted or salted butter, as it will likely make a difference which butter you use.
Though it may not seem like a big deal to some, it’s good to know the differences between the two types. Unsalted butter is always a good choice to have around if you do a lot of baking. It’s not a bad idea to have both types of butter in your fridge, so you can use them according to your needs.
Please comment if you have any questions regarding salted vs unsalted butter.