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Salted vs. Unsalted Butter
Cooking tips from the Quaker Kitchen
Which is better to use when cooking, salted butter or unsalted butter?

About Butter
Butter is a dairy product. It is produced by first separating cream from milk, and then churning the cream until the fat separates from the liquid. The fat, or butter, is then separated and collected from the liquid and then moulded or compressed together. The remaining liquid is known as buttermilk.

Butter Facts

  • Regular butter is 80 percent fat and 20 percent milk solids and water.
  • It takes cream from about 11 quarts of milk to make one pound of butter.

    Butter sold in most stores comes from cow milk. But, butter, like cheese, can also be made from other animal milks. At the Quaker Kitchen, we make butter and cheese from goat milk, sheep milk and even horse milk.

    Butter color. It should be noted that home made butter is not the same color as most store bought butter. Commercially produced butter has coloring added to it which gives it a bright commercial yellow color. The color of naturally produced butter ranges from soft white to light yellow. The color of butter is determined by the time of the year because the diet of the animal from which milk is collected from may vary with the seasons. The finest, sweet cream butter we produce in the Quaker Kitchen is during the spring and summer months when the pastures are green, lush and rich for our free ranging goats and sheep to graze in. That is when our home made butter is at its best!

    As shown in the photo above, commercially produced butter is graded by a letter code, and sometimes even a numerical number which "grades" the flavor, texture, and body of butter. AA equals a 93 score, A is a 92 score, and B is a 90 score.

    Good butter is important to the success of good cooking. Thus, it is important to know the difference between salted and unsalted butter. In the Quaker Kitchen, we use commercially produced butter from time to time. When we do buy butter from the store, we always purchase and use unsalted butter for cooking and for table use. We use unsalted butter for several reasons.

    1. Cooking with unsalted butter allow you to accurately regulate the amount of total salt being used in a food recipe. This is especially helpful for people on a low salt diet.

    2. Unsalted butter has a shorter shelf life than salted butter does because salt is a preservative. So, it is often a fresher product than unsalted butter might be.

    3. Salted butter does not have the same delicate sweet creamy butter flavor that unsalted butter has due to the added salt which masks butter flavor.

    4. Because salt is a preservative which changes the over all taste of butter, older milk can be, and usually is, used to make salted butter. Add to that fact that the shelf life of salted butter is longer, salted butter may not be as fresh as unsalted butter. Unsalted butter is made with fresh cream from fresh milk - it has to be because salt will not be added to the butter to further preserve it and mask low quality taste. Unsalted butter, with its shorter shelf life (in the refrigerator) has a superior taste and quality.

    5. Consider how much salt is in salted butter vs unsalted butter. The amount of salt added to salted butter can vary between butter brands, but it can be as much as 3/4 of a teaspoon per stick or 3 percent. Given the fact that salted butter and unsalted butter usually costs about the same per pound, why pay so much more for salt?

    6. It is best to use unsalted butter in baking because the glutens in flour are toughened by salt.

    Tips about using butter
  • Be sure to check the expiration date on the package before you purchase butter to ensure it is as fresh as possible.

  • Recipes that call for "butter at room temperature" means that butter has been set out on the counter for at least 45 minutes, so that the butter will give easily but slightly when you press it with your finger. Room temperature Butter is around 68 degrees F (19 degrees C). Do not use a microwave to warm butter to room temperature.

  • You can substitute unsalted butter for salted butter in a cooking recipe in the same measure.

    "The Lord bless thee and keep thee...."
    - Numbers 6:24

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