While the ingredients lists for most tasty treats typically call for unsalted butter, you might be surprised to know that some of the most delectable desserts are made with salted butter! What’s more, salted butter can actually be used as an alternative to unsalted butter in almost any recipe.
You can bake almost anything with salted butter. Some desserts do call for salted butter specifically, but even traditionally unsalted recipes can use salted butter as a replacement when done correctly!
The rest of this article will share what you can bake with salted butter, how and when to replace unsalted with salted butter, and will even explain how you can remove the salt from salted butter. Let’s get started!
What Can I Bake with Salted Butter?
Unsalted butter has been crowned king in the world of baking, so just what can you bake with salted butter? The answer is, well, almost anything!
Salted butter can be used to bake any number of delicious desserts or baked goods. If you are looking for a bit of added flavor, salted butter can bring a nice essence to savory dinner rolls or sweeter flavors like salted caramel, shortbread, peanut butter, and browned butter.
Using Salted Butter In Savory Dishes
Savory recipes like dinner rolls, buns, and bread can be taken to the next level by using salted butter instead of unsalted. Keep in mind that when baking bread, too much salt can affect the effectiveness of the yeast; so, if the recipe calls for additional salt, you may want to reduce it to maintain the desired texture and rise.
Sweet Treats and Salted Butter
Salted butter has been used in sweet baked goods for many, many years.
While it can be used in basically any recipe that calls for butter, here are a few of my favorite recipes that specifically request the use of salted butter:
- Salted Butter Dark Chocolate Cakes. These cakes are absolutely delectable and will have all of your friends swooning at your next dinner party. While they are fairly simple to make, their presentation is impressive, and the flavor packs a punch!
- Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread. Shortbread is appropriate for an incredibly wide variety of events and occasions. The chocolate chunks perfectly balance out the sea salt sprinkles on top. Yum!
- Peanut Butter Cookies. A forever classic, these peanut butter cookies are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. By replacing the unsalted butter with salted, the sweet peanut butter flavor is followed up by a hint of saltiness- a great flavor booster for this chewy treat!
- Salted Butter Caramels. These caramels are always a delight around the holidays, but you don’t have to wait all year round to buy them in the store! Surprisingly easy to make, these salted butter caramels give salted butter a real good name.
- Salted Butter Rolls. The perfect companion to your home-cooked dinner meal, these salted butter rolls are fluffy, buttery, and fantastically flavorful.
Replacing Unsalted Butter with Salted Butter
Most baking recipes call for unsalted butter because of its consistent, sweet cream flavor. When it comes to salted butter, two different brands may have noticeable discrepancies in the amount of salt in each stick. Because of this, it is often preferred to use unsalted butter and then add the appropriate amount of salt as needed by the recipe.
That being said, most recipes will still turn out just fine if you replace the unsalted butter with the salted sticks you have in your fridge. Typically, ½ cup of salted butter is equal to ½ cup of unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp of salt. Using that formula, you can omit or reduce the amount of added salt and directly replace the unsalted butter with salted.
How to Remove Salt from Salted Butter
Did you know that when stuck in a pinch, you can actually remove the salt from salted butter? Depending on what you are baking, you may find it to be unnecessary. Still, if you just have to get that salt out of there, there is a way!
Removing Salt from Salted Butter
To remove the salt from salted butter, use the following steps:
- Combine equal parts butter and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Allow the butter to melt completely.
- Mix the butter and water until combined
- Remove from heat and allow the butter and water to sit until separated.
- Remove the cooled butter from the pan using a slotted spoon.
The remaining water will retain the salt, and you are left with unsalted butter!
Take note that you do not want to rush this process by using high heat. Using medium-low heat lowers the risk of burning or overcooking the butter. It is also important not to cover the saucepan with a lid at any point during this process.
While it is not possible to completely remove all of the salt, this process does a pretty good job of removing most of it!
Alternative Substitutions and Additions for Unsalted Butter
When all you have is salted butter, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of removing the salt, you can easily tweak your favorite recipe to account for the unsalted butter requirement.
Instead of butter, most recipes will turn out just fine if you use these common ingredient replacements:
- Vegetable Oil
- Olive Oil
If the recipe calls for unsalted butter, you will want to use these replacements as-is. However, if the recipe calls for salted butter, try adding a little extra salt to account for the missing flavor element.
Remember, not all recipes are created equal. While these substitutions work great in many recipes, some are particularly specific and won’t turn out quite right without butter.
Salted butter can be a fantastic alternative to unsalted butter or an excellent baking staple that stands on its own. You can use salted butter for baking cookies, cakes, loaves of bread, candies, and so much more.
When it comes to baking with salted butter, as long as you consider total salt content and adjust your recipe accordingly, you should produce a tasty, flavorful treat!
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