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

Baking 101

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.

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