I think most of us have had that incredibly annoying feeling, at some time, of coming home from the supermarket, only to find that you’ve bought the wrong thing. That fabulous lasagne recipe calls for salted butter, and you discover that the butter that you hurriedly grabbed from the fridge is UNsalted butter! So now you will need to work out how much salt to add to unsalted butter.
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When it comes to my cooking and baking, I am a huge fan of butter. There is nothing nicer than a cake, or a batch of biscuits, made with pure butter. Sauces like a cheesy sauce for Mac and Cheese, or a creamy garlic mushroom sauce, are also so much better when made with real butter, rather than some oily substitute that supposedly ‘tastes like real butter.’
Butter adds flavor to cooked foods and improves the texture of the dish. Of course, you will all agree that there is nothing to beat a fresh chunk of warm bread, or a slice of hot toast spread thickly with lashings of melt-in-your-mouth butter.
Why Do They Add Salt To Butter?
Salt adds to and enhances the flavor of the butter, but this is not the only reason why the big dairy manufacturers add salt to their butter. Butter is highly perishable; salt is a form of preservative and it extends the shelf life of the butter. It is also fairly cheap. Adding salt to butter leads to fewer losses from spoilage in store, and butter passing its ‘sell by’ date too soon.
How Much Salt Should Be Added To Unsalted Butter?
Most recipes that include butter take into consideration the fact that butter contains salt. The ingredients have been adjusted to allow for this. If you have inadvertently bought unsalted butter, you can still use it in your cooking, but you will need to make some small adjustments to allow for the change.
For every half a cup of butter, which is ¼ of a pound, you should add a ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. This will give you the same amount of saltiness in the taste as if you had used salted butter.
However, this is not a hard and fast rule. I live by the philosophy that every recipe can and should be adapted to suit your personal preference. Some people love the tangy kick of lots of salt, while others find it unappetizing. A good guide is to taste as you go along. If it tastes too bland, add a pinch or two of extra salt.
It is worth remembering that salt in excess is not healthy. It raises your sodium level, which can cause high blood pressure. This sodium imbalance puts a strain on the kidneys and can affect kidney function.
When it comes to adding salt to food, moderation is key. When working out how much salt to add to unsalted butter, always work on the premise that less is better.