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Salted vs Unsalted

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have been looking through the recipes here on CC and was wondering if someone could tell me the difference between using salted and unsalted butter for icing recipes, thanks in advance for thoughts on this.
post #2 of 21
i normally just use salted and honestly i cant tell the difference.. i add salt anyway to my icings to cut the sweetness
post #3 of 21
a lot of people prefer to use unsalted, because then they can control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe
post #4 of 21
I have always used salted because it is cheaper but I watch some baking show and she said that she always used unsalted so that she could control the amount of salt in her recipe. she also said that brand to brand the salt content varies alot. The salt in the butter absorbs water so you actually get less "butter" than buying the unsalted which is why salted is cheaper.

Today I tried the unsalted and I must say that I did see a difference with the smoothness of the BC icing and I liked the taste better also so I am now sticking with the unsalted.
post #5 of 21
Well, most folks use the salted because in many areas it is a lot cheaper. Some do use it because it cuts the sweet a bit and dissolves better than adding straight salt.
The salt in salted butter also acts as a preservative both for the butter and for your icing. Icing using salted butter can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days, I find it actually keeps longer. Salted butter on its own can be kept up to two weeks at room temperature as long as the temperature is cool , about 70F.
Perhaps the amount of salt varies quite a bit in the U.S., here I find it pretty much the same in all brands, even the cheaper ones. I have never had it make an icing gritty either.
When I have unsalted I have used it but honestly don't see or taste much difference in the icing. Perhaps there is quite a difference in butter here in Canada, I don't know.
There is more a trend towards using unsalted butter these days, the older cookbooks used salted.
I find it makes more of a difference when you are cooking or baking, but for icing, I don't feel that it is an issue. Since unsalted costs almost twice as much as salted here, I tend to use salted most of the time, especially in icing as the cost of the cream and whole milk and pure real vanilla I also use, makes it expensive enough. I know most folks use artificial flavourings like clear vanilla to keep the icing whiter, but since these artificial flavourings to me, don't taste anything like the real thing - they have quite a chemical aftertaste - I can't see wasting the extra money on unsalted butter if that is how you are flavouring an icing.
Just my opinion,
hugs Squirrelly Cakes
post #6 of 21
I wasn't sure myself of whether to use salted or unsalted butter in my icing/cake recipes... I bought the WalMart brand of butter and it's salted .. I was going to just try that to see how it worked... now I see it more than likely will lol ... thanks SquirrelyCakes... you are such a wealth of knowledge and help us sooooooooooo much on here!! I enjoy reading all your comments icon_smile.gif
Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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post #7 of 21
I always use unsalted when baking, but salted when making my icing. I find the salt cuts the sweet taste. I didn't know salt content varies per brand though. I always just buy what's on sale. I guess I will have to start paying more attention, anthough I haven't noticed any difference yet.
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post #8 of 21
I use unsalted...I think it's a personal preference. I like the taste of icing better with less salt. It seems milder.
Birthdays are just nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.
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Birthdays are just nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.
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post #9 of 21
In Canada, the humidity or moisture level varies in the different brands of butter, I haven't found any difference in the levels of salt. But I suspect that is different in the U.S.
I would be adding salt to the icing anyway to get it less sweet, but since it is in the butter, I don't need to. Since butter in salt is absorbed well, I don't have to worry about it making it gritty.
Haha, and yes, I too buy the cheapest. At $4.39 to $4.79 and up for a pound, it is expensive anyway. Our unsalted is around $3.79 and up for half a pound.
I will use unsalted in an icing made up mainly of butter and chocolate, like the Sarah Bernhardt type of icing.
Some folks have the mistaken idea that salted butter is old butter with salt added to it, it is not. Mind you the salted butter you buy can be older because the salt can preserve it a lot longer. But they don't try to disguise the taste of rancid butter buy adding salt as I have seen suggested on another site.
Yes, sweet butter on its own does taste milder, because there is no salt added.
I think the important thing is to make sure the butter you are using is fresh and not to keep it past the expiry date.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Squirrelly thanks so much for all the info on this topic. Just one more question, I noticed you mentioned Sarah Berhardt type icing in your post, don't mean to sound stup, but who is she and what type icing does she use. I feel sometimes like I live a sheltered life all I do is go to work and come home, but coming home is the fun part because I get to play catch up and read all the great stuff here on CC that I have missed all day.
post #11 of 21
I bought some salted, WalMart brand .. I want to try using half butter, half Crisco in my next icing I make .. it'll be a first for me *fingers crossed*
Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
www.legateaux.com
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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by irisinbloom

Squirrelly thanks so much for all the info on this topic. Just one more question, I noticed you mentioned Sarah Berhardt type icing in your post, don't mean to sound stup, but who is she and what type icing does she use. I feel sometimes like I live a sheltered life all I do is go to work and come home, but coming home is the fun part because I get to play catch up and read all the great stuff here on CC that I have missed all day.


Hi kiddo,
Sorry it came up in another post. It is a popular name for an old recipe that was posted in a recent book. I just called it that because a lot of people are familiar with the name.
Here is the recipe again:
Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces good quality chocolate chips
6 ounces butter - at room temperature and cut into chunks or pieces
1 tbsp. Karo clear corn syrup or other folks use regular corn syrup, some don't use any - the corn syrup makes it shinier according to some folks
Now folks seem to like to use the Guittards but use your favourite brand of chocolate chips making sure they are real chocolate and not just chocolate flavoured.
I do not follow the method of putting a double boiler on medium heat with the bottom half full of warm water. I would prefer the method of putting the chocolate into the top of a double boiler or into a metal bowl that is over another bowl that contains boiled water Anyway, place chocolate chips and butter chunks and the Karo syrup in the top pot or bowl and stir until almost completely melted. The chocolate will melt before the butter does, personally I melt it all. Anyway, if some its of butter are not melted remove it from the heat and continue stirring until everything is melted. Then cool it until it is about the consistency of a chocolate syrup. You can pour it over a filled cake or you can allow it to sit and get firm and use your icing spatula to spread it on your cake.
If you wait too long to pour it, you can either reheat it on low heat or you can use a hair blower over the glazed cake until it gets shiny and smooths out.
post #13 of 21
Wow I had no idea unsalted costs so much more for other people. Salted and unsalted are the same price here. (atlanta, ga) I usually would buy mine at Walmart or one of the grocery chains. Walmart is usually about $2.48-$2.88/lb.

But I recently rejoined Costco and they had 4 POUNDS FOR $7.39! I thought I died and went to butter heaven! What a bargain...and it has been pretty good for me so far.

I've always used unsalted for my cakes and icing. I've never made anything but 50/50 icing. I take it you all usually do 100% crisco? I like the taste of 50/50, I haven't tried anything else yet.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

I can't see wasting the extra money on unsalted butter if that is how you are flavouring an icing.
Just my opinion,
hugs Squirrelly Cakes



I agree with you on this comment!!! icon_smile.gif

Most people don't eat much of the icing anyway, so I spend all that mone on unsalted butter, when the icing is not eaten that much anyway.

I use regular butter instead of unsalted because unsalted is very expensive... The brand of butter I buy is Blue Bonnett and its really good on the icing...

I haven't tried unsalted to see the difference but one of these days I will just see ...
Its always about cake!!
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Its always about cake!!
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post #15 of 21
Well the unsalted butter is better for some icings, but for a decorator's buttercream, I can't see paying extra for it, especially if folks add salt anyway to the icing and most especially if they are going to the expense of buying an artificial butter flavouring.
Haha, but you know, we are all different and have different opinions on the subject.
Interesting, I thought Blue Bonnet only made margarine, I guess that is because in Canada, they don't sell Blue Bonnet butter. At least I have never seen it.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
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