irisinbloom Posted 18 Jun 2005 , 10:30pm
post #1 of

I have been looking through the recipes here on CC and was wondering if someone could tell me the difference between using salted and unsalted butter for icing recipes, thanks in advance for thoughts on this.

20 replies
magentaa23 Posted 18 Jun 2005 , 11:23pm
post #2 of

i normally just use salted and honestly i cant tell the difference.. i add salt anyway to my icings to cut the sweetness

Kristy Posted 18 Jun 2005 , 11:36pm
post #3 of

a lot of people prefer to use unsalted, because then they can control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe

sgirvan Posted 18 Jun 2005 , 11:44pm
post #4 of

I have always used salted because it is cheaper but I watch some baking show and she said that she always used unsalted so that she could control the amount of salt in her recipe. she also said that brand to brand the salt content varies alot. The salt in the butter absorbs water so you actually get less "butter" than buying the unsalted which is why salted is cheaper.

Today I tried the unsalted and I must say that I did see a difference with the smoothness of the BC icing and I liked the taste better also so I am now sticking with the unsalted.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jun 2005 , 5:20am
post #5 of

Well, most folks use the salted because in many areas it is a lot cheaper. Some do use it because it cuts the sweet a bit and dissolves better than adding straight salt.
The salt in salted butter also acts as a preservative both for the butter and for your icing. Icing using salted butter can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days, I find it actually keeps longer. Salted butter on its own can be kept up to two weeks at room temperature as long as the temperature is cool , about 70F.
Perhaps the amount of salt varies quite a bit in the U.S., here I find it pretty much the same in all brands, even the cheaper ones. I have never had it make an icing gritty either.
When I have unsalted I have used it but honestly don't see or taste much difference in the icing. Perhaps there is quite a difference in butter here in Canada, I don't know.
There is more a trend towards using unsalted butter these days, the older cookbooks used salted.
I find it makes more of a difference when you are cooking or baking, but for icing, I don't feel that it is an issue. Since unsalted costs almost twice as much as salted here, I tend to use salted most of the time, especially in icing as the cost of the cream and whole milk and pure real vanilla I also use, makes it expensive enough. I know most folks use artificial flavourings like clear vanilla to keep the icing whiter, but since these artificial flavourings to me, don't taste anything like the real thing - they have quite a chemical aftertaste - I can't see wasting the extra money on unsalted butter if that is how you are flavouring an icing.
Just my opinion,
hugs Squirrelly Cakes

ntertayneme Posted 20 Jun 2005 , 12:03pm
post #6 of

I wasn't sure myself of whether to use salted or unsalted butter in my icing/cake recipes... I bought the WalMart brand of butter and it's salted .. I was going to just try that to see how it worked... now I see it more than likely will lol ... thanks SquirrelyCakes... you are such a wealth of knowledge and help us sooooooooooo much on here!! I enjoy reading all your comments icon_smile.gif

CakesByEllen Posted 20 Jun 2005 , 2:07pm
post #7 of

I always use unsalted when baking, but salted when making my icing. I find the salt cuts the sweet taste. I didn't know salt content varies per brand though. I always just buy what's on sale. I guess I will have to start paying more attention, anthough I haven't noticed any difference yet.

Lisa Posted 20 Jun 2005 , 2:15pm
post #8 of

I use unsalted...I think it's a personal preference. I like the taste of icing better with less salt. It seems milder.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jun 2005 , 5:16pm
post #9 of

In Canada, the humidity or moisture level varies in the different brands of butter, I haven't found any difference in the levels of salt. But I suspect that is different in the U.S.
I would be adding salt to the icing anyway to get it less sweet, but since it is in the butter, I don't need to. Since butter in salt is absorbed well, I don't have to worry about it making it gritty.
Haha, and yes, I too buy the cheapest. At $4.39 to $4.79 and up for a pound, it is expensive anyway. Our unsalted is around $3.79 and up for half a pound.
I will use unsalted in an icing made up mainly of butter and chocolate, like the Sarah Bernhardt type of icing.
Some folks have the mistaken idea that salted butter is old butter with salt added to it, it is not. Mind you the salted butter you buy can be older because the salt can preserve it a lot longer. But they don't try to disguise the taste of rancid butter buy adding salt as I have seen suggested on another site.
Yes, sweet butter on its own does taste milder, because there is no salt added.
I think the important thing is to make sure the butter you are using is fresh and not to keep it past the expiry date.
Hugs Squirrelly

irisinbloom Posted 21 Jun 2005 , 12:01am

Squirrelly thanks so much for all the info on this topic. Just one more question, I noticed you mentioned Sarah Berhardt type icing in your post, don't mean to sound stup, but who is she and what type icing does she use. I feel sometimes like I live a sheltered life all I do is go to work and come home, but coming home is the fun part because I get to play catch up and read all the great stuff here on CC that I have missed all day.

ntertayneme Posted 21 Jun 2005 , 12:06am

I bought some salted, WalMart brand .. I want to try using half butter, half Crisco in my next icing I make .. it'll be a first for me *fingers crossed*

SquirrellyCakes Posted 21 Jun 2005 , 2:54am
Quote:
Originally Posted by irisinbloom

Squirrelly thanks so much for all the info on this topic. Just one more question, I noticed you mentioned Sarah Berhardt type icing in your post, don't mean to sound stup, but who is she and what type icing does she use. I feel sometimes like I live a sheltered life all I do is go to work and come home, but coming home is the fun part because I get to play catch up and read all the great stuff here on CC that I have missed all day.



Hi kiddo,
Sorry it came up in another post. It is a popular name for an old recipe that was posted in a recent book. I just called it that because a lot of people are familiar with the name.
Here is the recipe again:
Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces good quality chocolate chips
6 ounces butter - at room temperature and cut into chunks or pieces
1 tbsp. Karo clear corn syrup or other folks use regular corn syrup, some don't use any - the corn syrup makes it shinier according to some folks
Now folks seem to like to use the Guittards but use your favourite brand of chocolate chips making sure they are real chocolate and not just chocolate flavoured.
I do not follow the method of putting a double boiler on medium heat with the bottom half full of warm water. I would prefer the method of putting the chocolate into the top of a double boiler or into a metal bowl that is over another bowl that contains boiled water Anyway, place chocolate chips and butter chunks and the Karo syrup in the top pot or bowl and stir until almost completely melted. The chocolate will melt before the butter does, personally I melt it all. Anyway, if some its of butter are not melted remove it from the heat and continue stirring until everything is melted. Then cool it until it is about the consistency of a chocolate syrup. You can pour it over a filled cake or you can allow it to sit and get firm and use your icing spatula to spread it on your cake.
If you wait too long to pour it, you can either reheat it on low heat or you can use a hair blower over the glazed cake until it gets shiny and smooths out.

Ironbaker Posted 22 Jun 2005 , 4:07pm

Wow I had no idea unsalted costs so much more for other people. Salted and unsalted are the same price here. (atlanta, ga) I usually would buy mine at Walmart or one of the grocery chains. Walmart is usually about $2.48-$2.88/lb.

But I recently rejoined Costco and they had 4 POUNDS FOR $7.39! I thought I died and went to butter heaven! What a bargain...and it has been pretty good for me so far.

I've always used unsalted for my cakes and icing. I've never made anything but 50/50 icing. I take it you all usually do 100% crisco? I like the taste of 50/50, I haven't tried anything else yet.

MariaLovesCakes Posted 5 Jul 2005 , 3:36pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

I can't see wasting the extra money on unsalted butter if that is how you are flavouring an icing.
Just my opinion,
hugs Squirrelly Cakes




I agree with you on this comment!!! icon_smile.gif

Most people don't eat much of the icing anyway, so I spend all that mone on unsalted butter, when the icing is not eaten that much anyway.

I use regular butter instead of unsalted because unsalted is very expensive... The brand of butter I buy is Blue Bonnett and its really good on the icing...

I haven't tried unsalted to see the difference but one of these days I will just see ...

SquirrellyCakes Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 4:03am

Well the unsalted butter is better for some icings, but for a decorator's buttercream, I can't see paying extra for it, especially if folks add salt anyway to the icing and most especially if they are going to the expense of buying an artificial butter flavouring.
Haha, but you know, we are all different and have different opinions on the subject.
Interesting, I thought Blue Bonnet only made margarine, I guess that is because in Canada, they don't sell Blue Bonnet butter. At least I have never seen it.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

KayDay Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 9:58am

I prefer a little popcorn salt...it does seem to make the sweetness not TOO sweet ...but I also use salted butter sometimes too and just add less of my own salt.

MariaLovesCakes Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 12:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

Well the unsalted butter is better for some icings, but for a decorator's buttercream, I can't see paying extra for it, especially if folks add salt anyway to the icing and most especially if they are going to the expense of buying an artificial butter flavouring.
Haha, but you know, we are all different and have different opinions on the subject.
Interesting, I thought Blue Bonnet only made margarine, I guess that is because in Canada, they don't sell Blue Bonnet butter. At least I have never seen it.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes




Well, not that you mentioned it, I looked at it to make sure, and it says that it "bakes like butter" but without the cholesterol. It doesn't say its margarine, though.... icon_lol.gif

I have used Blue Bonnet on all my recipes, even on Swiss buttercream and it tastes really good .... icon_smile.gif

SquirrellyCakes Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 1:06pm

In Canada, margarine has to state that it is margarine right in the name.
Generally margarine has too much moisture in it to use for a decorator icing. I say generally because though it isn't recommended I know one or two people that use it with no problem.
I know Kiddiekakes uses margarine, I believe she uses tub margarine in her icing. Her icing is always perfect, so obviously it works really well for her.
Baking and an uncooked unheated icing are two different things. Generally for baking, the best margarine to use is the hard margarine sold in blocks, squares or sticks- as you see in the U.S. The tub margarine has too much moisture for baking although there are some recipes that are adjusted for use with this type of margarine.
Margarine was created as a cheaper alternative to butter, during the war. Both margarine and butter have a lower melting and burning temperature. These fats react differently from shortening or cooking oil when placed on a hot element. When either butter or margarine are used for greasing a pan, the fat can be re-absorbed back into the cake causing cakes to stick to the pan and is one reason why this use is not recommended for most things.
When used in baking, the big difference is taste. If you are finding that it tastes good to you and works well, then always stick with what makes you happy.
Rule of thumb for cakes is that generally butter is better in a chocolate cake, shortening makes a lighter fluffier white cake, butter makes a more dense batter.
With decoratpr icing, all-shortening makes an easier to decorate with icing, an icing with both shortening and butter makes a more flavourful icing that doesn't melt as easy in your hands, an all-butter recipe makes the best tasting icing but is harder to handle and decorate with because of its higher moisture content and the fact that it has an 83F melting point whereas shortening has between an 89 and 99F melting point.
About the only thing I use margarine for other than on toast, is in the odd older cookie recipe I have and then, it is the hard margarine I use. I have tried a lot of recipes using either and I find that I prefer the taste of butter over margarine in nearly all cases.
It is a funny thing, when you switch exclusively to using butter, margarine tastes funny. When all you use is margarine, butter tastes funny. When you use salted or unsalted butter, each taste a bit odd when you switch between the two. I guess ours tastes change and we get used to one thing over another.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Ironbaker Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 9:04pm

I'm still amazed that unsalted is more for some of you.

I'm happy to report that Costco has gone down even more to about $6.79 for 4lbs of butter - salted or unsalted. thumbs_up.gif

aunt-judy Posted 6 Jul 2005 , 9:27pm

i like salted butter for baking and making uncooked buttercream. salt both balances the sweetness and enhances the flavour of many foods, even those things we might not think of as being improved by salt, like chocolate (i love salted chocolate). the most popular brand of chocolate chip cookies on the market is very salty.

squirrellycakes: if you're every feeling frisky and want to try a margarine in place of butter, give the lactancia brand (hydrogenated in the brown and white container) a try. i've used it in butter sponge cake batters with great success, and also in buttercream (instead of shortening, which i find unpalatable). it's less than half the price of cheap butter per pound. when it first came on the market they had tv commercials that claimed you could make shortbread with it (which was a vicious lie!!! icon_eek.gif ), but it did work well in other cookie recipes.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 7 Jul 2005 , 1:25am

I don't find margarine such an issue with cookies, but cakes, well, haha, it will take some convincing. Don't forget I have a lot of old cookbooks and margarine was used widely in those.
Unfortunately we cannot get our hands on the baker's margarines they use commercially, but in Quebec you can.
If I ever find it in the local stores, kiddo, I will try an experiment.
Hugs Squirrelly

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%