Before I begin, beware: This is a really long post that will totally blow your mind and you might never be the same again. Today, I am posting about a very serious matter… why you must use unsalted butter. Now this may not seem like a very serious matter, but trust me when I tell you: unsalted butter versus salted butter are two completely different things and are the difference between an awesome cake and an “eh” cake (or cookies, brownies… you get my point). This may be new and ground breaking news to you. I know when I found out about butter it certainly shook my world up (well baking world, that is).
My first knowledge of why you should steer clear of salted butter came about when I was at a cake decorating class with my mom. There were about 10 of us or so, plus the instructor. The class covered cake decorating, obviously, but also how to make buttercream and some delicious cakes. The instructor was talking about the ingredients of the buttercream when he came to a halt. He quickly scanned the room as he asked… “Who here uses salted butter?” Nervously my mom and I raised our hands along with a few other students in the class. The instructor shot us the death glare and went on to say some choice words <– totally in a joking way, of course. But seriously the language in this class was kind of PG13 which was hilarious unless of course if you have your mom standing right next to you… Can you say awkward?! He then went on to talk about the difference between unsalted and salted butter, opening my eyes to an entire new world of butter.
When I got home from one of the most fun classes of my life, I wanted to do some more digging into this butter matter. After doing some serious research, I found out according to The Kitchen that with salted butter you do not know how much salt is in your butter. I also discovered that salt is put in butter for a longer shelf life. Basically, the salt in salted butter acts as a preservative. Ultimately this means unsalted butter will be fresher. Salted butter is known to have as many as 920 milligrams of sodium in one stick. To put this in perspective, according to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended salt intake ranges from 1500-2300 milligrams of salt. Wow.
OK, so I know what you might be thinking: but salted butter is cheaper than unsalted butter so if they are both butter does it really affect the final product? The answer is yes. Good House Keeping posted an article about the butter topic. They decided to do a test to see if unsalted butter really made a difference. Good House Keeping made 3 batches of cupcakes, one batch with unsalted butter and then added the recommended salt, one batch with salted butter and no adding of the recommended salt, and finally one batch with salted butter plus the recommended salt. When they took the cupcakes out of the oven they all looked the same: fluffy, light, and delicious. However, when they tasted each of the cupcakes, they noticed a big different in taste. After a blind taste test among several editors for Good House Keeping, they came to the conclusion that the batch of cupcakes using unsalted butter was definitely the best tasting. Whoa. Who knew unsalted butter makes it better?
Are you guys still with me? I know this is a ton of information to take in, but trust me I am almost done. Salted butter will be easier on the wallet and will provide longer shelf life, but what it will not do is give you the freshest and best tasting food. If you trained really hard for a race and you knew that if you just did one more training session you would be able to win the race, wouldn’t you do that one last training session? <– Did that make any sense? What I mean to say is, if you put all the effort into baking doesn’t it make sense to make your product the very best possible by using unsalted butter? (This is one of those moments where you can start nodding your head and swipe away the tears.) So next time you are at the grocery store determining salted versus unsalted butter, I trust you will make the right choice in choosing unsalted butter. (Oh boy, now I am starting to sound like one of those infomercials. <– This is what happens after a really long post.) In conclusion here, just remember: Unsalted butter makes it better. 🙂