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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Butter

I receive several questions every week about butter and why do recipes call for unsalted butter.  First let's talk about why butter is salted.  Before the age of modern refrigeration, butter could get rancid if left at room temperature for a few days.  Someone found out that by adding salt, that extended the life of the butter.  Salt does act like a preservative.  So salt was added to commercial butter to extend the self life.  People got used to the idea and now we have added salt in our butter.

Recipes call for unsalted butter for several reason. 1. You can control the amount of salt better if the butter is unsalted 2. Many people feel the salt changes the flavor too much and can get overpowering.  This is true for things like clarified butter, or drawn butter for lobster etc.  3. Salt can also affect the texture. If you have ever tried European butter, you will see that the texture is much different than the commercial butter we use.

So if a recipes calls for unsalted butter; or you want to cut down on your sodium, use unsalted butter.  I will wager that you may not even notice the difference.

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