A Baking Question

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by nubka, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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  2. Whitneyskates

    Whitneyskates New Member

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    I always omit the salt if I'm using salted butter. You can never tell how much salt is in salted butter, some brands are saltier than the other.
  3. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Omit. Dansh recipes almost always call for salted butter, and no salt for sweet bakery. Granted European style butter s less salted too, but even in the US I rarely get unsalted butter.
  4. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I agree - no added salt. Although I am a failed baker. ;)
  5. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    I would use a good pinch of salt. You can't be sure there is enough salt in the salted butter.
  6. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    What does salt do in a recipe like that? Honest question.

    signed - failed baker.
  7. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It's supposed to enhance the flavor. I rarely put in as much as they say to begin with and often use unsalted butter even if the recipe doesn't call for it because a lot of my recipes are older and I think they overdo the salt. But you can't have none or your baked goods will be bland. This is especially true if chocolate is involved.

    Also, you must have salt in bread as it helps with the rising. Otherwise your bread will be a brick. :)

    Here's an article on it if you want to know more:

    http://shaunasever.com/2011/06/why-salt-is-important-in-baking.html
  8. Whitneyskates

    Whitneyskates New Member

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    Salt really helps bring out the flavor when you're baking. I made a batch of cookies a couple weeks ago and forgot to add salt and I could really taste the difference. The cookies had a very bland sweet taste to them.
  9. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Salt is a flavor enhancer, but I really think sweet stuff is often over salted.

    Savory bread is another issue.
  10. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Savory bread :kickass: I had some great anise-flavored brown bread at a Jul party last weekend.
  11. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Huh. Never knew all that. Which is probably why I'm a failed baker. :lol:
  12. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    But that's only for bread.
  14. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I always use salt as well as salted butter for quick-breaks - and my banana bread and corn bread are divine. Using buttermilk helps as well.
  15. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I always use salted butter and never omit the salt. I bake all the time and everything always comes out well.
  16. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I never use salted butter when baking. I just make sure to add the amount of salt the recipe calls for.
  17. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Salt assit with the leavening process. Omit the salt and the item will be denser than you expect.
  18. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Salt has no effect on chemical leavening agents.

    How much salt you want it a matter of personal taste. Even when using unsalted butter I use less than a recipe calls for, if the recipe is American.
  19. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I use unsalted butter for everything, and often cut salt significantly in recipes without any issue. I use half the salt in my tied and true pastry recipe, and just made popovers this week with 1/3 the salt suggested - no texture or leavening problems with either.
  20. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    No wonder us failed bakers have failed. So many opinions. :lol: Well, maybe not but it makes me feel better.
  21. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    I always wondered who was buying the salted butter :lol:
  22. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the helpful advice everyone! I'm going to buy some bananas tomorrow and give it a whirl...

    I love baking/cooking threads - so fun to read! :) :) :)
  23. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    But the burning question is...will you use salt or no salt? ;)
  24. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm going use my salted butter and just add a pinch of salt. :D
  25. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Salted butter is not the same as unsalted butter with salt added. Salt is a moisture retainer, so the amount of moisture in unsalted butter is different than the amount in the corresponding size of salted butter.

    AS for me, I use salted butter 99% of the time, no matter what the recipe calls for, and I use the amount of salt called for in the recipe. No complaints from any of my food testers so far.
  26. jamesy

    jamesy Well-Known Member

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    salted vs unsalted is the new Mao vs Yuna
  27. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Me - I can tell the difference when I have toast with butter, or any meal in which I can taste butter directly.

    The word "salt" is starting to look weird now :lol:
  28. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Lol!! :D
  29. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I try to get whatever butter a recipe calls for. But, if I have salted butter, I still add the salt, just a bit less.

    Milanessa, baking can be tricky. With general cooking amounts are not critical. With baking it's almost like chemistry - and the amounts/sifting/kind of flour is critical. My Italian grandma taught me to cook. She cooked by throwing handfulls of things into a pot, tasting it and adjusting. How she managed to be a great baker is beyond me! But, she passed her techniques on to me. My daughter, however, makes chicken and rice and beans. :lol: My son is an excellent cook.

    Real Tuscan bread has no salt. It is very dense and has a slight sweetness to it, even though there is no sugar in it. It tastes strange, at first. But, once you get used to it it is delicious. I make a Tuscan soup (Ribollita), that calls for Tuscan bread layered through it. I make the soup exactly the same as I've had it in Italy. But the breads here all have salt, so that changes the density and flavor a bit. I suppose I could bake my own bread first, but the soup is so much work!
  30. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Why would anyone use salted butter in the first place, let alone add salt to salted butter for a recipe calls for unsalted butter? :confused:

    We (North Americans, that is) get more than enough salt in our diet as it is, and you can't be certain how much salt is already in salted butter.
  31. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    The amount of sodium is on the label.

    Unsalted butter spoils quickly. I don't use margarine. So I use salted butter because a stick can last in a butter bell/container for over a week. Unsalted will spoil and rancid butter is disgusting.
  32. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Salted butter preserves it longer, though for modern people using a refrigerator it's such a minor difference as not to matter. It's actually not enough salt in the salted butter to really affect the taste much when it's used in cooking, but unsalted butter is still preferred.

    The #1 reason people "fail" at baking (including people who are absolutely astonishing cuisine cooks, including pros) is baking is method, cooking is art. In culinary school the instructors would even say they could spot a baker in the students a mile off (one teacher referred to me as "methodical.") You have to be really careful, especially with raised doughs, to follow the directions. Never change ratios or make substitutions unless you're very sure what you're doing as it will completely change your results. It probably has the most math of all culinary courses, too--in baking, they're formulas, not recipes, for a reason.

    Even then, weather, temperature, humidity, oven variations can all screw with you and you wind up with things not coming out how they should. Ingredient quality can vary, too (if your chemical leaveners are old, things won't rise like they should, the wrong flour can seriously alter the texture, swapping out kinds of sugar is basically altering the wet ingredients, if you use eggs that are bigger or smaller than called for you'll get weird things with the protein...) Baking can be really hard. (I still prefer it to cuisine, but I get why there are people who just hate it.)
  33. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Because it tastes good, of course! :cool:
    milanessa and (deleted member) like this.
  34. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Unsalted butter tastes bland to. I only get unsalted if I know I will use it all for baking.

    While making cakes and pastry is very much like science, baking biologically leavened bread (yeast, sourdough) is both art and science. You can 'feel' when a dough is kneaded enough, and feel and se when it has risen enough (for instance temperature has a huge impact on how long bread should rest).

    My mom always makes her own bread, and I 'helped' from a very young age. It is something that is best learned from a master :)
  35. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Oh, and check the expiration date on your yeast (and make sure, though this is more a problem for those of us using vintage and antique cookbooks, that it's the right KIND of yeast-the directions for fresh yeast and packeted dry yeast and instant yeast are different.)

    Really, baking sets out to make you be as anal as possible...and then little things will still get you. You just keep practicing. My mother never really was taught by anyone but she makes great bread (really makes, I mean, there are no bread machines in our house.)
  36. asdf334

    asdf334 New Member

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    Yes, and no. Yes in that you have to be precise with the measurements. Here's the no: 1) I feel like if you try TOO hard to do everything just right you usually end up with something worse. :lol: 2) To a certain extent baking is about following visual cues and experience. As an example, you can't simply just cream the butter for 2 minutes if that's what the recipe says. If it's not light and fluffy after 2 minutes, you need to keep going or you're not going to get the proper aeration needed for say, a cake.
  37. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Ehhhh...to an extent, yes, it's learning to judge when it's right, but you can't skip the creaming step (or puree it instead). If you decide to use three eggs instead of one, it's not going to work as intended unless you change everything else (using the right formula to figure amounts, not just tripling everything.) You can learn to cook entirely on feel, but real feel in baking comes only with experience and still can't substitute for formulas. For baking, at least, I don't actually need directions, I just need the formula. (But I'm coming at this from the professionally-trained end. And some cookbooks that aren't really home-cook friendly operate on the same assumption, ie "Saute the garlic in the usual way", "add the normal amount of cream," etc.) And when you're starting out, going on feel is more likely to harm than help.
  38. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    My grandmother could bake wonderful cookies -- I can't remember the name of the ones that were like biscotti -- by grabbing handfuls of flour and sugar, and she used whatever eggs were in the house. I never understood how this worked. Nothing she baked was delicate, but everything was great. She also baked a mean challah, but stopped when her arthritis got bad.
  39. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. As another example, I discovered the hard way that melted butter is no substitute for softened butter. I don't have the patience for baking. When I decide to bake (which is rare) I want to bake now. I do not want to wait for my butter to soften. :lol:
    kwanfan1818 and (deleted member) like this.
  40. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I bought the Tassajara Bread Book 2 or so years ago. The instructions for making a loaf of bread were absolutely wonderful, and it turned out to be easy. Until I moved to China, I baked my own bread every weekend. I highly recommend the book.

    Sourdough was harder. The loaf I made wasn't nearly as flavorful as I had hoped. I just didn't have the patience to let the starter really ferment the way it needed to :lol: