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Dec 11, 2005 08:07 PM

Salting Unsalted Butter...

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I am going to make chocolate chunk shortbread cookies tomorrow and when I first started making them years ago I followed the explicit instruction which said that I must use salted butter and I would just use my current favourite brand. I would like to know if I can use my favourite unsalted butter and add ??? amount of salt and what kind of salt I should be using. Any suggestions/opinions about proportions and type of salt to use would be appreciated. I'm also wondering about ensuring the salt is dissolved...

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  1. I haven't done this, but here's what I would do: make the batter with unsalted butter, add a fourth of a teaspoon, and taste. Different people like different levels of saltiness, so see this as your opportunity to taste and personalize. I don't think the chemistry will be off enough to affect baking.

    If you're worried about distribution of the salt, crush the salt between your fingers. It shouldn't be a problem, since many baking recipes call for salt in addition to what's in the butter and the salt always melts just fine.

    1. Recipes for butter differ, but figure 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon (sometimes more) per stick (1/4 lb, 1/2 cup) of butter. Gosh, I think I got everything right.

      If salt is added early, it will disolve. Still, the smaller granular you have is better than Kosher or rock salt. Not worth putting in a spice grinder or mortar to grind.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SteveT

        I always use kosher salt in baking and have never ended up with discernable salt crystals in the finished product. And I always use unsalted butter, so I agree with the preceeding advice.

        1. re: SteveT

          Thanks for all the great advice. I'm about to make them so I will let you know how they turn out. I guess I was concerned about the salt dissolving because there are so few ingredients but I think I will whip the buter on its own with the salt and then it should be fine. Normally I never use salted butter but this recipe insists it is required and they are yummy cookies so I didn't want to mess around too much. We suddenly have butter from France available and I'm in love with it...especially for baking.

        2. Well, thanks for all the great advice...I did whip the butter first and added salt and whipped it again. The chocolate chunk shorbread cookies turned out just the way I wanted them to taste wise...also baked perfectly, half without any colour and the other half just ever so slightly caramel coloured as requested by the cookies addict of the house. Unfortunately, I keep telling myself I need to taste test them...