Butter : salted or unsalted?

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For butter in baking, most of us normally use the common brand we can find in our M’sia supermarket. I attended a short cake decorating course at one of our local college a few months ago. The chef insisted in using unsalted butter. And the cakes turn out to be really good. So, I did some reading to distinguish between salted and unsalted butter, and here’s what I found.

Unsalted butter :

  • Preferred in baking due to the no salt content. Salted butter can contain between 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt depending on the brand.
  • Some say that unsalted butter is better as it will not affect the rising of the bake product. Salt may interfere in the chemical process if using yeast.
  • However, salt also acts as a preservative, therefore the shelf life of an unsalted butter is shorter.
  • If you prefer to have fresh ingredient, opt for the unsalted butter. I checked the salted butter I have in my fridge right now, the expiry date is in 2009! Best to keep all butter in the freezer, wrapped again in another layer to avoid them absorbing any other smell.
  • Unsalted butter also has the most natural butter taste. But then again, it depends on each individual taste.

Salted butter :

  • Best to be used on toast or for everyday cooking.
  • The salt in the butter may mask any off-flavours, therefore you might not be getting the most fresh butter.
  • Cake do last longer if using salted butter.
  • Some say it adds moisture (I don’t see any real difference in mine.)

Overall, both types can be used interchangeably. If you are using the salted type, just reduce in half any additional salt in your recipe – omit 1/4 teaspoon of salt per 1/2 cup of butter. If you have the extra budget, why not try a different brand of the imported butter. It might make a difference in your cake, cookies or whatever you’re baking. Happy baking :razz:


cy says:

Hi, i would like to know why does the oil separate from the mixture when i add eggs to the butter and sugar mixture when baking fruitcakes. i also get a lot of secreted from the cake during baking. what have i done wrong?