Unsalted butter: Why recipes call for it

In the beginning, butter was salted to help preserve it. But with modern ways of refrigeration and distribution, salt is now largely used in butter because many people prefer the flavour. The amount of salt used in butter can vary among different brands, anywhere from ¼ teaspoon per stick of butter to ½ teaspoon. Many cooks and chefs prefer to use unsalted butter in their recipes for this very reason because they can control the amount of salt in the recipe better. And the amount of salt used in a recipe can be very important in baking, particularly with delicate flavors like citrus, vanilla, herbs or floral as too much salt can easily overpower or mask these flavors. But this fact shouldn’t hinder you from using the butter you have in hand, because using unsalted butter is more of a personal preference for most and using it doesn’t make you a bad baker.

Another primary reason that most recipes call for unsalted butter is because you cannot measure the amount of salt content in the butter and it’s very hard to adjust the rest of the flavors or seasoning in the recipe. If the recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of salt and you use salted butter then you end up adding more salt, sometimes even double the amount, than the recipe called for.  This is why using unsalted butter when cooking or baking is better and safer because you have control over how much salt you want or don’t want in the recipe.

The butter produced by Pelwatte Dairy is made from Grade A quality butter and they produce the very best unsalted butter in Sri Lanka. Both salted and unsalted butter can be used interchangeably for any recipe and you really can’t go wrong with either one. But if the recipe expressly calls for unsalted butter, it’s because the recipe has been tested with it and unsalted butter is the preferred choice for the particular recipe. Unsalted butter is the preferred choice because it gives more control over the overall flavour in the recipe and this is especially true for baked goods where the sweet, pure, creamy flavour of unsalted butter is vital. But some recipes call for unsalted butter as well as salt. That is because without the added salt flavour in the butter, the pure, creamy taste of it comes through easily at first and then you can add the precise amount of salt you want in the recipe.

Another reason unsalted butter is called for in baking and cooking is because salt is a preservative and it preserves butter and this means that salted butter could be older or less fresh than it’s sweeter, unsalted counterpart. Generally, unsalted butter has a much shorter shelf life than salted butter.

Pelwatte Dairy brings you the best dairy products, including butter in Sri Lanka from wholesome milk taken from our very own meadows around Buttala. One of the leading dairy companies in Sri Lanka, we produce a range of quality dairy products that include flavored milk, ice cream, yoghurt, powdered milk and unsalted butter.