Salted versus Unsalted Butter

The one (1) item I “cook” for the wife is pancakes. Been doing it since we were both graduate students in Hawaii. A good lazy-Sunday brunch.

We’ve always bought unsalted butter, thinking, “Who wants salty butter? Yuck!” But I think a time or two we did pick up salted by mistake, and I’m not sure I could tell the difference, nor the wife. Is there any particular reason to choose one over the other?

I use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the dish. I don’t really find much difference in the taste. The reason they sell it salted is because it lasts longer.

Even the unsalted seems to last months. We just bought a new tub whose expiration date is September 18, 2010.

I use salted, only because that’s the taste I’m used to. Unsalted just seems very bland to me . . . like I have to leave the food in my mouth a little longer to get any buttery taste.

I do have to restrict my salt intake, but considering the small amount of butter I use, it’s really not an issue.

I’ve never seen butter in a tub. The difference in shelf life is mainly if your storing it at room temperature. I usually chop it onto pieces and store some in the freezer. I don’t know if there’s much difference when refrigerating or freezing it. The only time I worry much about whether it’s salted or unsalted really is when baking, that;s the only time I notice the different tastes plus a lot of recipes are written with unsalted in mind.

Cultured butter is nice to use for the extra buttery taste. I’ve never checked the salt content on it though. Might not suit you any better than the regular salted stuff but I like it a lot.

It’s definitely butter, not margarine. But even the stick variety doesn’t seem to have much difference in expiration dates between the two.

We tend to keep it for months, as I don’t make pancakes all that often. But I did introduce the wife to the wonders of maple syrup and assured her it’s not pancakes unless it’s virtually swimming in it. Over here, the backpacker’s staple is the “banana pancake,” served in just about every cheap restaurant catering to budget travelers. Not bad, but instead of syrup, they tend to give a very, very tiny container of honey. Most Thais seem to think that’s how pancakes are supposed to be.

Oh, no, I’ve just never seen anything other than wrapped. I find it interesting that it comes in tubs there. Maybe that’s normal in a lot of places it’s just not something I’ve seen around here.

As a general rule, added salt makes a lot of foods simply taste better (not just saltier).

May be time to give salty more of a chance, once we run out of this one.

I’ve started putting unsalted butter on my popcorn, and I swear it tastes better. Unsalted is also good for when you’re cooking mussels or clams. I use salted all other times.

It may be wishful thinking, but unsalted butter seems to be fresher and better-tasting than salted butter because there’s nothing to hide off flavors or the early stages of rancid behind. In other words, the manufacturer has to use the absolute best available cream when making unsalted butter.

It depends on what you are doing with it. Some foods can use the salt, and it’s difficult to add the salt directly. Other foods can’t take it at all.

One time I made icing with salted butter. No one in my sweet-toothed family wanted seconds, and I wound up saving it and eating it (since I can’t stand wasted food.)

Baking should always be done with unsalted butter. But otherwise, it’s a toss-up for taste, IMO.

I’m a rebel and I use salted butter in my baking, but that’s because I’d rather do the math based on sodium content in a serving and adjust the added salt accordingly than try to keep track of two different kinds of butter in the freezer. Most of the time I don’t even bother with the math- it’s only dishes with a large quantity of butter that are ever effected, in my opinion.

I use salted because it’s what I grew up on. Since I don’t add additional salt while baking, it all works out fine – salted butter has less salt than most recipes call for anyway.

If you use a butter bell to keep your butter spreadable (yet still fresh) instead of storing it in the fridge, I’ve heard that salted keeps better. I used to buy only unsalted, and I have noticed that if I don’t a) change the bell’s water frequently and b) use the butter a couple of times a week, the butter in the bell starts to get a little moldy. I’ve read (but haven’t yet tried) that to solve this, you can either add some salt to the water, or just buy salted butter - apparently the salt stops any growth.

I was buying unsalted butter because I’ve heard it’s better in baking, and I too didn’t want to stock two kinds of butter. But since I bake so infrequently, it’s pretty silly. I’ve gone back to buying salted now.

Salted definitely. I’ve left it out for days, and have never had it go rancid.

I’ve never tried salted butter in the US so perhaps the formulation is far milder, but when I was living in France, I would go through whole loaves of baguettes with butter. I tried this once with some salted butter and by the end I was feeling seasick from all the salt. I found a butter that was half as salted (demi-sel) and that was just perfect. More flavor than plain butter, but not too salty for eating straight on a slice of bread.

Leaving butter out for days isn’t really that big of a deal, salted or not.