Kosher salt vs. tablesalt

robinwaban

I started using Kosher salt in all my baking instead of table salt. I'm trying to see if results are comparable. Any opinions?

badge posted by: robinwaban on October 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm in General discussions
tags: baking, kosher, salt
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reply by: mrscindy on October 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm
mrscindy

I started using kosher salt for baking/cooking, exclusively, about three years ago. The only real difference I've seen is that we are using less salt. Measure for measure there is less salt in a teaspoon of kosher than a teaspoon of regular salt. Of course, the really big difference is the lack of iodine in kosher salt, which is another debate entirely.

I made the decision to use kosher salt with the express purpose of decreasing our salt intake. My husband was using more than I liked for him to use. This was one way of controlling his salt intake in our baked goods and in anything I cooked. I cannot tell any difference in results or in taste. Just my opinion.

~Cindy

reply by: robinwaban on October 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm
robinwaban

Thanks for your feedback. My husband just told me that Kosher salt is called Kosher salt because it has no iodine, which is taken from shellfish. Shellfish are not Kosher. Mmmm... I think I'll look this up!

reply by: robinwaban on October 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm
robinwaban

This helped me clarify things more, and showed me that my DH wasn't exactly right ( but I'll let him think he's so smart. Anyway, he doesn't read this site). Hope this little blub helps, but now I'm a little nervous about adjusting salt measurements.
According to Morton Satin of the Salt Institute, the industry’s trade association, the name stems from the salt’s original use: to draw blood out of meat so that it meets the dietary rules set by Jewish law. (The Bible sanctions against ingesting blood and commands the use of salt to draw out the blood.) While table salt’s fine grains would disintegrate if slathered on a side of beef—potentially making for one very salty brisket—kosher salt’s larger crystals wouldn’t all dissolve. “Both the blood and salt wash off,” says Satin. The process is sometimes called koshering.
Kosher salt, like most mass-produced salts, does also happen to be kosher—that’s to say, it contains no additives and has been certified as kosher by a rabbi or an authorized organization. (To debunk one common myth, kosher foods do not receive a rabbi’s blessing.) Sometimes small producers don’t bother having their products certified. Salts that have been certified kosher are marked as such with a circled K or U on the label.

Kosher salt has a coarse texture, which makes it easier to gauge and control how much you’re using. That makes it more popular with chefs than table salt. Some say it has a cleaner taste than table salt. And those large crystals sure do perch up well on a margarita glass.

But bakers beware: Kosher salt weighs at least 26 percent less by volume than table salt. That means if you use a 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a recipe calling for 1/4 teaspoon of table salt, you’re adding too little. And different brands of kosher salt have different-size flakes, says Susan Reid, editor of The Baking Sheet newsletter from King Arthur Flour. That makes it hard to come up with an absolute rule of thumb for substituting kosher salt for table salt in recipes. Reid recommends this method: When a recipe calls for a teaspoon of table salt (or 1/4 or 1/2, etc.), use a rounded teaspoon (or 1/4 or 1/2, etc.) of kosher salt. The CHOW test kitchen, which always uses Diamond brand kosher salt, follows a 1-to-2 ratio of table to kosher salt.

reply by: MattieO on October 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm
MattieO

Haven't noticed a great deal of difference for baking, but I have found a tremendous difference with general cooking. About 8 years ago (being a big-time food dork), I decided to do a blind taste test between iodized salt (Morton's), kosher, basic sea salt & fleur de sel (the Carramogue variety). My then girlfriend (now wife) and several friends and I independently had the exact same preferences. Based on that, there is no iodized in the house (too "chemical-ly"), sea salt is used as the primary and fleur de sel (in various forms is used to finish meats, etc, and tableside. BTW: Kosher is wonderful-Just decided to go with 1 primary salt. Your mileage may vary...

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 14, 2011 at 11:57 pm
Mike Nolan

I personally think the 'kosher salt' craze is an affectation brought upon us by a few celebrity chefs.

There are uses for kosher salt, such as when koshering meat.

However, Morton Salt specifically recommends against using kosher salt when baking, I figure they know what they're talking about.

If you don't want iodine in your salt when cooking, buy uniodized salt. Most experts agree you'll get enough iodized salt from other sources that you won't have to worry about developing a goiter.

If you want to use less salt in your recipes, just cut the amount of salt by a third. Most of the time you won't notice a difference. (In my opinion, far too many recipes use way too much salt anyway, and far too many trained chefs were taught to over-salt their dishes in school.)

Or you can do as we have done for 40 years and use sea salt as your table salt. The trace minerals in it make it taste saltier, so you use less.

reply by: sandra Alicante on October 15, 2011 at 3:54 am
sandra Alicante

Interesting discussion!
We use sea salt here (we live a few miles from where it is made) we see it piled up in mountains by the side of the road. When using coarse salt in recipes, I just use a little bit more.

TIP - not cooking related. For anyone who wants a real treat, try your own salt scrub. In a small plastic jar, half fill with table salt. Add enough baby oil (preferably aloe scented, mmm) to make a semi paste, stir. Keep it, covered by the side of the bath or shower. After you have bathed or showered as usual, use the paste to rub all over your skin. Rinse off with warm water. Towel dry as normal. Your skin should remain soft for a couple of days.

The scrub in pretty pots makes a great gift, you could scent them with different essential oils.

sandrascookbook.com

reply by: --jej on October 15, 2011 at 4:09 am
--jej

I use Kosher and sea salt for some things in cooking, but all salt shakers are filled with the iodized Morton's -- and I also use it exclusively in baking. Like Mike N., though, I usually cut it in half at least, and DH has never complained. Being in the upper Midwest, I learned in grade school that we were too far from our nation's coasts, where ocean fish abounded and made it to the table. Therefore, we kids, in grade school, lined up regularly for a 'goiter pill' -- which tasted so good to me and I actually looked forward to. Of course, things have changed now, and we can fill our shopping carts with all the ocean fish we desire. The things I can't change are my very vivid memories of some family friends with huge goiters, and much more recently, a young colleague in the local school system who also was similarly afflicted. So I am unable to abandon iodized salt.

reply by: dachshundlady on October 15, 2011 at 6:47 am
dachshundlady

Yea, I'll stick to iodized as well, since I don't like seafood. At my age, I have enough stuff "going south" that I don't need to add goiter to the list!

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on October 15, 2011 at 7:37 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

Kosher salt doesn't work well for baking for the same reason it's desirable for koshering meat - it doesn't dissolve well. So unless you want little lumps of salt scattered around in your bread, table salt is the way to go. You can get it uniodized, but honestly there is not enough iodine in table salt to do you any harm. I can't tell the difference. There is a difference in perceived saltiness between table salt and kosher salt when tasted by itself because of the particle size - the kosher salt doesn't dissolve as quickly and would be perceived as "more salty" simply because it sticks around longer, which could be either pleasant or unpleasant depending on how much you like salt, LOL!

reply by: cwcdesign on October 15, 2011 at 8:26 am
cwcdesign

I have sea salt in my salt grinder for the table because I like it and my family now adds less salt after cooking because of the bigger grind. As Zen says, it's the perceived saltiness. I have both kosher (Morton) because I like it for cooking certain things like roasted vegetables and Iodized Morton salt. I may be mis-remembering, but one reason I thought my mother bought iodized salt was that we lived near the salt water and it clumped less in the humidity than un-iodized salt - it still clumped and we had to put rice in salt shakers during the summer, but not as badly as the other. I think that's another reason I like to have kosher and sea salt on hand - they don't absorb moisture the same way as table salt.

reply by: tarragonmh on October 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm
tarragonmh

I use 3 kinds of salt here. Kosher is what I prefer for seasoning meats and roast chicken, Redmond Real Salt for everything else with the exception of a big box of Morton table salt that is used for salting the pasta water.

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Mike Nolan

There's some interesting information on this page about iodine and food:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=69

I was not aware that some commercial bread conditioners had iodine in them, for example, or animal feeds (which explains why it is in cow's milk.)

I think I had seen the information about certain vegetables, notably broccoli, potentially interfering with iodine utilization, but I doubt anyone eats enough broccoli for that to matter.

I'm old enough to have seen people with goiters when I was growing up in NW Illinois, mostly farmers who primarily ate food from their own farm.

reply by: shannon9585 on October 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm
shannon9585

Interesting. We use kosher salt exclusively in my house - for baking, cooking, tableside, everything. I'd be interested to know how a side by side comparison of a basic baking recipe (pound cake? sugar cookies?) made with kosher salt vs table salt.

reply by: pammyowl on October 17, 2011 at 12:24 am
pammyowl

When baking, I use uniodized salt. For cooking, salting a baked potato, whatever, you absolutely can taste a huge difference if you try Celtic Sea Salt! It so unbelievably enhances the flavor of anything you use it on. My sister turned me on to it. At first I thought, how could salt taste that much better, I mean it is only salt. But was I ever wrong!

http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Sea-Salt%C2%AE-Fine-Ground/dp/B000EITYUU/re...

It is expensive, but worth it. I use coarse ground for cooking, marinating, etc. fine for table. I wonder if I could grind the coarse into fine in my spice grinder? It is about half the price. I'll try it.

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 17, 2011 at 12:50 am
Mike Nolan

Buy a salt mill and put the coarse Celtic salt in it. Grind it into food as you're cooking, that's what I do about half the time these days.

We have several, though I just use ordinary sea salt in them. I may get a small package of coarse Celtic salt the next time I run out of sea salt, just to try it out.

reply by: meghildreth on October 19, 2011 at 2:20 am
meghildreth

I mostly use sea salts and I don't think I even have regular table salt in the house. I do have Kosher salt, but the last time I used it was for making ice cream...

reply by: cwcdesign on October 19, 2011 at 7:57 am
cwcdesign

Meg,

Everyone's wondering about you over in your member's thread.

I'm going to tell them you've posted :-)

Carol

reply by: goyaboy on October 23, 2011 at 12:54 am
goyaboy

Salt has basically 3 functions in baking (It may not do all these functions on any given item).

1) flavor enhancer- all salts do this so there's no reason to not to use a different salt for this.

2) Salt acts like a tenderizer- I'm not sure if kosher would cause problems here.

3) Salt controls the rate yeast rises- Salt and yeast don't like each other. The amount of salt you put into a dough helps to control the rate of the yeast raising. Using Kosher salt would be a problem here considering if you're putting less salt into the dough you may be not producing the proper dough. The best way to deal with this is either measure out weight based on ounces or put the salt into a mini food processor and just grind it up. This way you can get right amount of salt into it.

reply by: pammyowl on October 23, 2011 at 1:22 am
pammyowl

I promise, you will love it! I can't say enough what a difference it makes.

reply by: Harrison Brook on October 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Harrison Brook

Two-legged carbon based life forms do need some iodine in their diets. Thing that bugs me about a popular kosher salt is when you dissolve several cups in water (for brining) you always have a little pile of debris left over at the bottom. It's not "salt" as far as I can tell. Not sure what it is or if I want to consume it, kosher or not. It would be interesting to disolve the same amount of Morton's and see what's left.

reply by: pammyowl on October 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm
pammyowl

Well, I can attest to the fact that when I use Morton s Kosher salt to cook pasta or brine whatever, there is always a film on my cookware. I have to use "Barkeepers Friend" to get make my pans shiny again! It happens with sea salt, as well. I think the impurities in salt are a naturally occurring thing, and that is just the way salt is!

reply by: mrscindy on October 31, 2011 at 9:48 pm
mrscindy

Agreed, pammyowl!

~C

reply by: Harrison Brook on November 01, 2011 at 7:16 pm
Harrison Brook

I am talking about more than a film. If you dissolve 4 cups of kosher salt in a round stockpot full of water and stir in a circular motion, when the water stills, you will notice pehaps a teaspoon of black mystery muck that didn't dissolve. There may be mouse poop in my flour too but at least I can't see it...although caraway seeds always make me wonder. I would think evaporated salt should be pretty pure...kinda, sorta. More so than mined salt.

reply by: Harrison Brook on November 01, 2011 at 7:33 pm
Harrison Brook

I've heard of kept women but kept men...not so much. Still I find it amusing that some women treat their husbands like they are a cared-for pet. My sister used to disguise pills inside of globs of peanut butter when it was time to give the family dog its medication. Not so easy to disguise bland food from hubby...even if his name is "Fluffy".

And as anybody who watches TV chefs..."seasoning" is the politically correct word. Do not say "salt" in polite company.

It's good to be bad. Put a little "seasoning" in there for the old man once in a while. The way to a man's heart is saturated fat but salt is good too. Don't let Bittman fool ya!