Ingredients: Unsalted butter. Plus salt.

I have the ‘if it’s food, I like it already’ gene. Under many circumstances this is an advantage! Certainly when I’m doing the eating and someone else did the cooking!

I don’t think D_odds was being short with you. I think he/she was merely pointing out that most Americans do not, in fact, think of of butter/jam on toast as either/or. I think most of us who are going to use jam or jelly on toast use butter first.

I’ve made European recipes and hadn’t noticed whether they’d specified salted or unsalted butter, so I went to the Great British Baking Show recipes on the PBS site. The recipes are unconverted (The heathens!), so they’re in grams, for instance, instead of American measurements. And they specify unsalted butter. Perhaps in neighborly recipes shared over the garden fence, as it were, butter is merely referred to as butter, whether the fences are in England or the US.

I buy unsalted butter and use it for everything. I do buy salted butter to put on the table if I am having people over for dinner, because I know many people prefer it to butter their bread.

That is true, but there is no use at all using Kosher salt in a soup or something and any recipe that calls for it is simply wrong.

That may be true, but we keep a little bowl of kosher salt next to the cooktop and it’s easier to just grab a pinch or dip the measuring spoon into the bowl than get the table salt shaker out.

Tell Paul Hollywood that.

I was taught many years ago in Home Ec. that you add salt to the dry ingredients and use unsalted butter. You don’t want your butter to be salty, you want the dough to be affected by the salt mixed in with dry ingredients. The butter should be creamy, not salty.

That said I only use unsalted butter in cookies and sweet pie crust.

Seconded. AFAIK unsalted butter is widely used and routinely available across Europe and the Commonwealth.

If you mean that in those places, plated butter for table service is more likely to be salted than unsalted (as indeed is the case in the US too), sure. But if you mean that people in those places don’t buy and use a lot of unsalted butter for cooking and baking, I think you’re entirely mistaken.

I use unsalted butter when making the meat sauce for my lasagna, because if I don’t, then even without adding any salt at all the salt in the sausage and the cheese will add up with it and make the finished dish too salty.

American married to a Scot here, and the demands that sandwiches have the bread buttered before being made do my head in! (He also eats Supernoodles on buttered toast- why???)

I am one of the heretics who doesn’t like butter on most sandwiches, but I do recognize that I’m a heretic. :slight_smile:

And a grilled cheese sandwich without butter is impossible, or at least ruined.

All my UK recipe books specify unsalted when they want it, though I guess the default is salted. I even remember one of my teachers in Home Ec answering a student who asked this very question, why salt and unsalted butter? She claimed it was partly due to the ambiguous salt levels and party because the better quality butter is sold unsalted, as the salt can hide ‘off’ tastes, which you can sometimes pick up in sweet buttery pastry if you use cheap salted butter.

I normally use unsalted where the recipe says, though not if it means a special trip to the shops. At my standard of baking, the salted butter is probably the least of my problems.

The local supermarket sells ‘slightly salted’ as well, just to add to the confusion.

Oh and, to me, it ain’t a proper sandwich unless the bread’s buttered.

This is my experience, too. I’ve been baking for about three decades now, including a stint working at a bakery. For virtually all that time I’ve used salted butter in recipes that (generally) call for unsalted, and almost never adjust the salt levels, and things come out delicious.

Maybe I like things very slightly extra-salty. But more importantly, there are areas of baking that are unforgiving (how much baking soda to add), and areas that are far more forgiving (how much salt you want), and areas that are in between (the amount of liquid, the addition of an extra dry ingredient, a sprinkling of cheese in the biscuit dough, etc.).

A lot of people like to play up the chemistry of baking, and it’s there for sure–but your cookie dough will be delicious whether you use unsalted or salted butter.

Same with US cookbooks, for the most part. I quickly flipped through a couple of American cookbooks, and the recipes I landed on simply said “butter” without specifying salted or unsalted. To me, “butter” with no further qualified usually means salted butter.

Now, it is unusual for Americans to butter their sandwiches, in my experience. Around this house, we’ll sometimes butter it if we put jelly/jam/preserves on it (or if it’s toasted), but we don’t usually butter it when we make untoasted sandwiches with cold cuts (the exception is when I’m making Polish-style open faced sandwiches.) So that is a bit of an “American thing,” I would think.

Australian books, as well:

Yeah, there are some exceptions (and those recipes will specify unsalted butter), but most of the time, salt’s purpose in food (any food, whether baked or stovetop) is just flavor, and the consequence of putting in more is that it’ll taste saltier. Although, of note, the relevant flavor isn’t always just saltiness: A small amount of salt will heighten the taste of other flavors as well.

Interesting. My offline go-to for basic recipes is Joy of Cooking, and I just checked–they specify “unsalted butter” in the five baking recipes I looked at (some cookies, some quickbreads, waffles). I also use The Cake Bible sometimes, and it also specifies unsalted. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone doesn’t, though.

It may be that my reliance on Joy of Cooking makes me overestimate how common calling for unsalted butter is in American cookbooks.

Oh, I didn’t specifically look at baking recipes, just recipes in general. The baking recipes, it seems, often do say “unsalted butter,” but it depends on the cookbook. My Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking, for instance, does not specify unsalted butter in the baking recipes. My edition of Joy of Cooking (1976), similarly does not specify. I’m looking at the recipe for pound cake right now, and it says “2 cups butter, no substitutes; 2 cups sugar; 9 egg yolks …” The recipe for puff pastry does say “sweet butter,” but the pie crusts and everything else all seem to just say “butter.” (ETA: Just checked waffle recipes, too. Just says “melted butter” with no qualifiers for the basic waffle recipe. Same with all the other waffle recipes I see that use butter.) Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything does specify unsalted butter in the baking recipes, but not elsewhere. My Real Cajun (2009) by Donald Link doesn’t have too many pastry recipes, but the ones I see also do not specify unsalted butter. (“Meat Pie” dough, for example, just says “1 pound cold butter, cut into pieces.”) Similarly, the recipe for German Chocolate Cake, just says “12 tablespoons butter, metled” for the cake dough part.

I use unsalted butter but ignore directions to “add salt”. Anyway, it usually says, “Add salt and pepper to taste.”

“Cooking is an art, but baking is a science.” Baking can be intuitive with enough experience. My wife’s family has a plethora of great pie makers, and they just grab stuff and go. And the best pies come out of a wood burning oven. Family reunions are rushing through the fried chicken to get to the dessert table.