Kosher Salt - Diamond Crystal [split from Ontario]
(Note: This thread was split from the Ontario board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8284... -- The Chowhound Team)
What makes diamond crystal preferable for you over other kosher salt? Given it is your day to day salt, I am just curious. Lately I find myself grabbing Himalayan pink salt more than anything.
I feel inadequate answering for aser, but as I understand it, Diamond Crystal has a unique crystal structure from an Arkansas dry lake, which leaves a larger air space in each grain. You use less; it is easier to spread, and melts quickly, much like the expensive Maldon flakes.
I have Himalyan pink salt from Highland farms, and use it as a replacement for Sifto, which it resembles. Very fine, and very salty.
Your post suggests that you can use less salt to achieve the same effect, but please correct me if that was not your intention. Let me explain:
The salt quantity in a recipe, by weight, would obviously be the same regardless of how much air space there was in a grain. All salts are almost 98% sodium chloride and the differences between various salts are the degree of minerals, the coarseness of the grain and the amount of processing. But, this does not change the amount of sodium chloride in the salt that you use by weight. And, any unique flavour salts might possess are only left intact for your taste buds to savour if the salt is not cooked or dissolved.
If you proportion the amount of salt you use in a recipe by volume rather than by weight you would use less salt but then the food would taste less salty so there is a tradeoff.
Anyway, maybe you could elaborate, thanks.
I weighed the salts on hand today, per level tablespoon:
Maldon flakes 8g
Sel de Guerande 13 g
Windsor coarse salt 14 g
No Name (Loblaw) Kosher salt 17g.
The ones I don't have here, Sifto and Himalyan, would be higher, while I expect Diamond Crystal kosher to be lower than sel de Guerande. I'll look at those next week.
Most recipes in North America are by volume, so there is clearly a problem. Most upscale or foodie related recipes use kosher salt, and Mortons is assumed to be right.
But for table salt, Maldon is the clear choice for, even if it is hard to find. It spreads better, melts quickly, and less is needed for effect.
As jayt90 says, it's basically the feel of it. I feel it distributes more evenly between my fingers than compared to other salts. Other brands feel more clumpy. Plus having used it for that long I'm just more familiar with the degree of saltiness it imparts.
I'll check other No Frills as my local (Dufferin Mall) doesn't stock it. I'll check the Lansdowne location as that is considered one of the best No Frills in the city.
I've seen it stocked at the Nuthouse, but everything in there is quite expensive.
Well, for cooking, Diamond Crystal kosher is the assumed standard in most American cookbooks because of the ease of converting table:kosher salt ratios. Diamond kosher is half the weight by volume of table salt; while Morton's is 2/3 the weight by volume. People who use Morton's instead of Diamond will often find things saltier than the recipe intended.
re: Karl S
I doubt that Diamond Crystal is an assumed standard for cookbooks. I've never seen this anywhere except in comments here. It would be a poor choice, for precisely the reason you mention -- cooks who use Morton (most cooks) would oversalt. It's easy to add more salt, but impossible to remove it.
I like Marcella Hazan's approach. She just writes "salt," leaving it up to the cook to use a suitable amount.
D.C. is always a known quantity when I take a pinch of it. It's less 'salty' obviously than table salt. Just a side step about any salt/s: When you add salt to a dish you are building remember that it always takes a little while for the salt to dissolve throughout the dish. I always get a laugh when I watch so-called 'chefs/cooks toss in a pinch of salt then immediately taste the surface of the dish and quickly decide whether the dish needs more salt. Give the dish a minute or so after stirring in the salt then taste it.
My choice of Kosher salt is based upon what is available at the grocery store. Sometimes that is Diamond Crystal, other times I have used Morton's. For some reason, I've never kept any other salt in the house...except for regular iodized salt which I use for salting pasta water, bread dough and popcorn.