Salted vs. Unsalted Butter and Self-Rising Flours — Your Baking Questions Answered (Part 1)

Home bakers often ask, “Why can't I use salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, especially when salt is listed as a separate ingredient?" Right? I totally get the question. Why wouldn't you just use salted butter and call it a day?

First, let me say that I never use salted butter. Not to bake with, on my toast in the morning or for any recipe that calls for butter.

Call me a control freak; however, the reason is that the salt added to salted butter varies depending on the brand you buy. All salted butters are not created equal. So why take your chances when baking? Just buy unsalted butter and start with a clean slate.

This leads me to the next most-asked question:

"Why can't I use self-rising flour for all baking?" I totally comprehend this question too. It sure would eliminate buying a variety of flours, right?

Just as with salt in butter, you need to know exactly how much baking powder is in self-rising flour. I don't understand why someone would trust that the flour manufacturer has your cupcakes in mind when they add leavening to the flour. Between you and me, the store-bought self-rising flour proportions are as follows: 1 cup of flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

You see, salt is introduced when we least expect it. Honestly, I never knew salt was added. My motto for procuring ingredients is to always buy the freshest, best-quality products and then you will end up with a quality dish. This is not to say salted butter and self-rising flours are of not low quality; I just want you to be able to control the components of all the ingredients in your ingredients.

Next Up

Baking with Butter

Find out how using different butters and butter-mixing strategies can affect the outcome of your baked goods.

For the Love of Salty Sweets: Rich Chocolate Brownies with Sea Salt

Sweet and salty are a craveworthy match when it comes to dessert. Hear from Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes as she shares a salty-sweet recipe and tips for balanced bites.

Switch Your Nutmeg

Make your life easier with tips from Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford and Food Network Magazine.

Ron Ben-Israel's 5 Commandments of Baking: The Basic Do's and Don'ts

We asked baking expert and Sweet Genius host Ron Ben-Israel for his five hard-and-fast rules for whipping up sweet treats this holiday season.

Top-Rated Cinnamon Rolls — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Tender and fluffy on the inside with layers of buttery cinnamon-sugar baked inside, The Pioneer Woman's five-star cinnamon rolls, featured in Food Network Magazine, are the ultimate in morning indulgence.

Ina’s Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Enjoy cinnamon-sugar indulgence, without the deep fryer.

How to Build Your Own Gingerbread House

Follow Food Network's simple recipe and easy-to-follow tips for making a show-stopping gingerbread house from scratch.

Bakers' Dozens: Raising the Bar

Pastries cut into bar-shaped pieces never really go out of style. With a handful of recipes for crusts and toppings, you can easily make bar cookies completely interchangeable

May the Best Cake Win: Bakers to Battle for $10,000 in a New Series

Food Network’s new competition, Cake Wars, premieres Monday, June 29th at 8|7c.

On TV