Now that baking season is fully underway, I thought I'd write a post about one of the top baking ingredients - butter. Specifically the debate of salted butter versus unsalted butter. Now, most baking recipes on the internet will tell you to use unsalted butter. However, those recipes clearly have salt in them. And, if you bake any of the recipes on my blog or in my book, then you know I prefer to use salted butter.
But what really is the difference? It's pretty simple - salt. While salted butter has the salt added for you, unsalted butter doesn't have any salt. One of the main reasons I bake with salted butter is that when I learned to bake when I was young, that was the only butter we had in our house! My mom refused to purchase unsalted butter, probably because she wasn't a baker. And, who wants to eat unsalted butter on their foods? Gross. So, I used what we had, salted butter. And then when I moved out of my parents house, I felt the same way. Why would I buy two different types of butter? It seemed unnecessary. So, I have always developed my recipes to use salted butter for ease and convenience for myself.
There is no right or wrong way to use butter, as long as you end up with a finished product that you want to eat. If a recipe calls for salted butter, and you only have unsalted then it would be fine to substitute it for the unsalted. However, you should adjust the amount of added salt in the recipe to be more, because of the lack of salt in the butter. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter, and you have salted butter, then you must do the same thing but remove some of the added salt in the recipe so you don't end up with something that is too salty or inedible.
Don't be stressed out by the description of butter in a recipe. Do pay attention to it, and adjust your recipe where needed.