Most chefs agree that there is a big taste difference between salted and unsalted butter. The salt acts as a preservative. Which explains why unsalted butter is not that readily available and why it is normally more expensive than salted butter – it is fresher and has a shorter shelf life.
The amount of salt added varies widely between different brands. So if you change brands often, you have to adjust accordingly. Producers claim that the salt also improves the taste of the butter. But that is not entirely true as in most cases people have and insatiable appetite for salt. So it makes commercial sense to make your butter slightly more salty than your competitors.
It is generally best to buy unsalted butter (especially if you bake a lot) because then you’ll know exactly how much salt you are adding to your dishes (and family’s diet). And when making something like gourmet flavoured herb butters this amount of control really is critical.
Because salt overpowers the natural sweet flavour of butter, flavoured butter recipes generally call for “salt to taste” or no salt at all. This means that if you are one of those people who automatically season food with salt without even tasting it first, then salted butter will be just perfect for you.
Becoming a better cook is all about getting to know your ingredients intimately, learning how to make the most with what you have on hand, pleasing your own palate and above all – having fun.
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