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Salt.

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Salt.

Postby Gruney2 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:01 pm

Over the past couple of years, I've had a casual flirtation with American cast iron skillet and Dutch Oven recipes, and have, particularly with cornbread recipes, found the outcome over salty for my palate. It has dawned on me that the recipes often call for "kosher salt" - often they just say "salt". I now know that Kosher salt is not fine grained, like what I know to be cooking salt. Clearly, using fine grain cooking salt would cause saltiness, if I should have used a larger grained type.

I have two questions please:-

If an American recipe merely calls for salt - is it reasonable to assume it means "kosher".

How coarse is "kosher"? I don't think as coarse as Maldon? - maybe more like the coarse sea salt, we would put in a salt grinder?

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Re: Salt.

Postby WWordsworth » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:22 pm

Good question Gruney.

No idea of the answer though.

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Re: Salt.

Postby scullion » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:23 pm

i tend to ignore the specified salt measure in recipes - my partner prefers little salt where i prefer more so i put it in as he would like and add more to my plate if i need it.
if the recipe just says salt then i would assume it was fine ground but still use it by my criteria - and taste while i was cooking. you can always add but not take away.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Gruney2 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:28 pm

Thanks both. Yes, you can add, if it's under - salted when it's cooked, but with something like cornbread, clearly that's not possible.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:38 pm

Randomly
Nigella actually specifies in many recipes that you should use 2 teaspoons of coarse salt flakes or 1 of fine sea salt, so that’s precedent I suppose, and I found this article which says kosher salt crystals in the US have twice the volume of table salt, weight for weight

https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/w ... d-sea-salt

So I’d definitely halve the number of teaspoons if you are using fine salt instead of kosher, but I don’t think you can assume that unspecified salt is kosher, which is used as iodised US table salt can add bitterness

Second, recipes from the southern USA are in my experience usually way too salty, and I’m guessing most of those recipes will be southern - I found North Carolina very salty!

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Re: Salt.

Postby Gruney2 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:44 pm

Thanks, Sue - yes, that is all quite consistent with my experiences.

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Re: Salt.

Postby karadekoolaid » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:18 am

I haven´t got any scientific evidence, but I always used to use sea salt when my chutney company was running. My opinion - it´s stronger.
I´m also a poster on a couple of US food boards,including one which has got some professionals on it.
I´ll ask them.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:43 am

If you put salt into your mouth dry, you perceive the flavour of different crystal structures quite differently - most people seem to prefer the “mouth feel” of loose crystals or flakes of sea salt such as Maldon or Anglesey, which is why they are used for finishing, and they also look pretty.

But if you were to weight out salt and measure water accurately and make up 5% or 10% solutions of different salts you’d be very unlikely to be able to taste any difference

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Re: Salt.

Postby karadekoolaid » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:26 am

Probably, Sue - but the iodine and fluor added to salt over here definitely add "flavour". Not pleasant, IMO.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:27 am

Yes, I was talking of salt not chemically manipulated sae salt or rock salt as extracted and possibly purified by recrystallisation

As I said, the reason for the culinary trend to use kosher salt in the USA is to avoid the taste of added iodide

I just hope there’s enough iodine elsewhere in the diet - it is an important nutrient

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Re: Salt.

Postby Gillthepainter » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:50 am

I watched a small article on the production of Halon mon Anglesey pure sea salt.
The salt content in the water is not only clear and clean, it is some percentage or other higher than salt content in other British waters. I don't think this equates to Halon mon being saltier per grain, but it indicates that you are only buying their sea salt, not other additives.

So I tend to believe in the "posher" salts, that they are cleaner. My choice is Maldon.
And no matter what the recipe calls for, I have my own eye for how much I add. Tricky for things like pate where I would probably not add enough.

If a regular recipe asks for 2 teaspoons of salt for example, I wouldn't add it. I don't know how much your recipe asked for.

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Re: Salt.

Postby northleedsbhoy » Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:00 am

I’ve seen some YouTube videos where they’ve said that if using table salt rather than the coarser one they’re using then the amount should be reduced. Unfortunately they rarely say by how much but salt can always be added to the finished dish to suit personal preferences.

It annoys me when chefs get up in arms about customers adding salt to their meals on the grounds that it’s already perfectly seasoned but the question really is who is it perfectly seasoned for - the chef or the customer?

Cheers
NLB :thumbsup

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Re: Salt.

Postby Earthmaiden » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:26 pm

northleedsbhoy wrote:t annoys me when chefs get up in arms about customers adding salt to their meals on the grounds that it’s already perfectly seasoned but the question really is who is it perfectly seasoned for - the chef or the customer?

It does seem a bit rude to pour salt all over a lovingly prepared dish without even trying it first though (a bit rude to pour it over rather than put on the side of the plate anyway). A surprising number of people do that.

I think that Sue's guide at the start of the thread is very useful.

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Re: Salt.

Postby herbidacious » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:46 pm

Such as my mother! My grandma used to do it, too. I think it was perfectly acceptable at one point.

It seems very arrogant and controlling to me when restaurants/eateries don't provide salt, as how things taste is a relative thing, and what are restaurants for? For us to enjoy food or to massage the egos of prima donna chefs? :) You can get used to more or less salt, of course, and I think a lot of us are now used to a lot less. Ready prepared food bought in France always seems very salty to me, even though I am a bit of a salt fiend. I assume this is because of a concerted effort to reduce salt in processed foods in the UK which may not have taken place in France. But back to restaurant food, our tastebuds diminish with age, so some of us may benefit from more salt (from a gustatory point of view if not a health one.) But of course one should taste the food first. (Which most chefs won't witness anyway.)

I am curious about cooking cornbread in a slow cooker. Is there an advantage to this?

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Re: Salt.

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:56 pm

Re salt content Gill - once salt is solid, crystalline, it’s nearly 100% salts with just a tiny trace of water, but they are all equally salty

Simple rule of chemistry - if anything is in crystal form it’s pretty close to pure, that includes pink salt and brown sugar

I have the French sel atlantique which comes in fine, which I use in general cooking and coarse which I put in my posh grinder on the table and hardly use but also use as “roughage” when grinding pastes in a mortar

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Re: Salt.

Postby Badger's Mate » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:57 pm

It's an interesting point, but I couldn't tell you whether any particular fayn dayning restaurant I have been to had S&P on the table. I think so, but can't be sure. They will be there at breakfast if you stay the night. Thinking about it though, what's the difference between assuming people don't want to add salt but not ketchup or chilli sauce?

I don't like as much salt on food as I used to enjoy; if I revisit foods I haven't had for ages, such as tinned soups, they seem intolerably salty.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Gillthepainter » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:05 pm

Sue, you've reminded me of those brown crystal sugars in Italian restaurants, that took an age to dissolve in your coffee.
Pretty though.

I never add salt in a restaurant.
And wish there was a table gadget to take salt out.

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Re: Salt.

Postby herbidacious » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:09 pm

I always buy Sel de Guerande when I am in France and indeed sea salt in general as it's a lot cheaper there. I have still a long way to go before I finish the cannister of every day sea salt I bought last time I was there well over a year ago.

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Re: Salt.

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:13 pm

I got a big canister of sel de Guérande last time I was in TK Maxx about a year ago

At current rate of progress it might see me out

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Re: Salt.

Postby ZeroCook » Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:40 pm

Stokey Sue wrote:once salt is solid, crystalline, it’s nearly 100% salts with just a tiny trace of water, but they are all equally salty.

Simple rule of chemistry - if anything is in crystal form it’s pretty close to pure, that includes pink salt and brown sugar


True but surely only to a certain extent otherwise brown/raw sugar would taste the same as refined white for e.g.?

Re OP on a couple of counts. Not sure why US recipes insist on referring to coarse salt as kosher salt tho I've noticed a small trend to calling for sea salt but with no indication whether fine or coarse :? . I've had a few over salting experiences with US recipes and now automatically halve quantities given in teaspoons before adjusting. Can also be a nightmare for pickling recipes so tend to avoid volume-only measurements where possible.

Disagree with culinary advice to totally avoid iodised salt in cooking at all costs. I've tried many salt variants in cooking and tbh I've never found iodised to impart or leave a discernable taste. I'm the same way with EVOO tho. I use it in most things oil except for avocado oil for deepish frying and Asian cooking. That said, generally not keen on chemicals added to salt - anti caking etc.

Use pure salt for pickling etc and always weighed not measured by volume.

Salts in the house - pure sea salts coarse and fine and grinder, bog standard iodized and 'plain' non iodised salt (full of additives) mistakenly bought, pickling salt- pure no additives, no fancy salts other than those given to us including red (clay added) Hawaiian and some interesting hand collected rock salt. Do like naturally dried sea salts.

Like the idea of smoked salts - haven't tried them. Do they impart a strong flavour?


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