Sweet or salted butter: which one to choose in cooking?

The French are among the biggest consumers of butter in the world. To melt in white pasta, to spread on bread, to prepare pastries or cook meat, butter is omnipresent in cooking. It can be used to cook at the start of preparation or to enhance at the end.

A fat with many benefits

Butter is a 100% natural product, made from the cream of cow’s milk, which rises to the surface when it rests. Even though this fat is high in calories, it has many benefits. Butter is a food very rich in lipids, cholesterol and beta-carotene. Without forgetting that it is also a good source of vitamin A and D which contribute to the growth of bones, teeth and protection against infections. It also has antioxidant properties which are good for vision.

Using unsalted butter

According to a study by Kantar Worldpanel in 2019, 62% of butter purchased in France is soft. It is in fact the one that is most often used in pastry but also in cooking for cooking. It’s even better if it’s clarified! This is also what we call “ghee” in Indian cuisine. It is a soft butter from which the small fatty substance has been removed with less casein and whey. Clarified sweet butter is more resistant to high temperatures (up to 230°C) while unclarified sweet butter is more likely to burn quickly. To avoid this, we advise you to mix a drop of olive oil with a knob of butter to make it (I think there is a word missing) at high temperature. Unsalted butter can be eaten raw or cooked and enhances the most subtle aromas of both savory and sweet preparations. Sweet tooths love it in baking since it plays a fundamental role in waterproofing the dough. We all appreciate the perfectly flaky mille-feuilles and croissants. The butter has nothing to do with it. During cooking, each layer of butter waterproofs the layers of dough, which will allow each layer of dough to rise, dry and form a thin crispy sheet. Another essential role: it increases both the crispness and friability of shortbread and provides both softness and creaminess to leavened doughs. On the savory side, sweet butter binds and rises sauces to perfection and reinforces the creaminess of a mash for example. It softens certain flavors such as sweet, salty, bitter and acid in a white butter sauce for example.

Using salted butter

Salted butter and the Bretons is a true love story. Used without moderation in the preparation of kouign-amann or in caramel, salted butter is one of the region’s flagship products. For the record, “Amann” is the Breton translation of the word “butter”. Its salty touch perfectly enhances sweet preparations based on chocolate or caramel. Do not hesitate to prepare your cakes, flans and other soft foods with a knob of salted butter, to enhance their flavor. Prepare your mousses, ganaches or chocolate truffles with salted or semi-salted butter: you will surprise your guests with this subtlety in the mouth that changes everything. On the sweet side, it’s hard not to think of the delicious salted butter caramel to accompany Breton crepes or pancakes for breakfast. But the salt crystals in the butter also go perfectly with raw vegetables like radishes or carrots if you are feeling peckish, for an aperitif or a picnic. On the other hand, semi-salted butter and salted butter should not be confused. Semi-salted butter contains between 0.5% and 3% salt while salted butter has more than 3%. Salt is a flavor enhancer. A knob of salted butter goes just as well with a pan-fried piece of beef, green vegetables or steamed potatoes. It also goes very well with seafood, to cook a fillet of cod in a pan or to concoct a white butter sauce which will enhance it wonderfully.

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