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Jun 12, 2013 09:26 AM

sea salt vs. kosher salt

Is there any real difference between sea salt and kosher salt from a culinary perspective? My understanding was that chefs always recommended kosher salt because of its flake size and texture. If I were to grind sea salt to the same flake size as kosher salt, would there be any real difference between the two?

I have also read that sea salt contains trace minerals that are not present in kosher salt. Is this true? Does this affect the flavor of the sea salt in any noticeable way?

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  1. Salt Weight Equivalents - Table vs Kosher vs Sea

    (as weighed on my kitchen scale)

    I weighed 1 level Tablespoon of each.

    Morton Non-Iodized Table salt 18.3 gm per tablespoon.
    Morton Kosher salt 14.3 gm per tablespoon.
    Diamond Kosher salt 12.4 gm per tablespoon.
    La Baleine Sel de Mer (sea salt) 18.5 gm per tablespoon.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      Due to the different grain sizes salt should measured by weight. Avoids needing to convert to different measurements. There are just too many different salts out there to do it any other way

      1. re: scubadoo97

        So when a pancake recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of salt, what weight you use? How about a pinch (of kosher)?

        1. re: paulj

          Personally I don't measure salt by weight or volume for general cooking. I usually can eye it for my tastes

          For larger amounts like in making brines I do weigh

          I don't bake much but have tried to use metric units instead when I do. So what would that be 7g?

    2. To me the taste is pretty much the same, but kosher is way easier to pinch from a salt pig. That said, I am talking Morton's to Morton's. However, other types of salt have very if fernet tastes to me. I am especially fond of wet grey salt and of halen mon. The former on a slice of fresh tomato...OMG.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tim irvine

        Agree Tim. I find the specialty salts add a different texture more than flavor.

        I would love to see the results of blind taste tests of different salts if the were ground to the same level to equalize the texture. I have an okay palate but really can't taste all the mineral nuances some detect in specialty sea salts

        1. re: tim irvine

          I've always just used sea salt, but recently got some flaked salt - which I am becoming much more of a fan of. It's great for cooking as well as finishing things, so you're not biting into hard rocks.

          1. re: tim irvine

            Cooks Illustrated did a taste test of fancy salts and ordinary ones. The results were that whatever minerality/flavor exists in the more expensive salts, their flavor is lost completely when dissolved in a stew or soup, for example.

            Expensive salts are best used as a final finishing garnish, primarily for the texture (like Maldon sea salt, which has these great, big crunchy flakes- I love adding to the top of fresh buttered crusty bread)- and to a lesser degree, for the flavor. Diamond kosher salt is the kind they recommend and the kind I use, because it is easiest to control in pinched fingers. Maldon kosher salt grains are bigger and rounder, and are thus more cumbersome and slips out of my fingers more easily.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              So true.

              Sea salt is a waste of money as a cooking salt.

          2. I cook with kosher and use sea salt to finish before serving.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Perhaps millions of years ago, but most is dug out of the ground now.

                1. re: Joebob

                  Does that change its origin or composition?

                  1. re: Joebob

                    Actually, its not dug -- its dissolved in water & pumped to the surface.

                    1. re: rjbh20

                      Actually, there's a reason that the saying "Off to the salt mines" exists.

                      Vast quantities of salt is mined - as in blasted and dug out of the ground.

                2. It's my understanding that Kosher salt is the "purest" salt....NaCl, nothing added. The Morton's table salt may have added iodine, and the sea salt should have other salts other than sodium chloride.

                  The "complexity" of flavor of sea salt depends on the brand, and how your tastebuds react.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pinehurst

                    Morton's kosher salt has anti caking agents so its not pure NaCl

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Interesting. Morton's Kosher is harder to find in my area than the Diamond, and the Diamond doesn't have the YPS. Interestingly, in terms of plain ole table salt, the Morton is everryyyywhere.