hello this is chef john from food wishes with a tale of two salts!
That’s right remember that time you made that online recipe because everybody was raving about how great it was ? But then you made it and it was way too salty ? So you got back online and posted that angry one-star review, where you actually said I would’ve gave his zero stars but they wouldn’t let me: I had to give it at least one…
Well I think this video is going to help explain what happened as we’re about to review the two most commonly used types of salt in the kitchen and why they’re often not interchangeable.
So let’s go ahead and get started by taking a look at the two salts in question on the left we have your basic fine table salt. This would be your most common type and what you would find in probably 95% of the salt shakers in the country; and then on the right here we have what’s called kosher salt which of course you see me using all the time in these videos.
So let’s go ahead and sprinkle down a little of each and then go in for a closer look, and as we zoom in. Here you should be able to see the major difference and I really do wish I had one of those electron microscopes to show you this comparison, but those things are like a million dollars plus where would I keep it? But even with the slight magnification here you can really see there’s a difference all right: The kosher salt on the right has much larger much lighter much flakier crystals, whereas the crystals for our fine table salt are much smaller and much more uniformly sized.
So while these do look sort of the same from across the table, when it comes to the actual grains of salt as you can see they are quite different and here’s why that matters so much: Let’s just say you’ve got a brine or a marinade recipe from a chef like me and I told you you needed 1/4 cup of kosher salt, which by weight would be after I zero out the weight of the cup here. Looks to be about 39 grams. Okay so basically is the creator of that recipe I wanted you to add 39 grams of salt, which apparently according to this experiment is what 1/4 cup of salt weighs. But that’s not what you do you’re like “hey I’m a Buddhist I do not need to use kosher salt”. I will simply use a quarter cup of this fine table salt which I’m sure is exactly the same. Well not exactly. Check it out a quarter cup of the fine table salt weighs 76 grams which is like almost twice as much salt as I actually want you to add.
So while it is true you did measure exactly correct and that is a quarter cup of salt it’s a quarter cup of fine salt not a quarter cup of kosher salt and that right there my friends explains about 95 percent of the salt related arguments on the Internet alcohol accounts for the other 5%. So you really do need to pay attention to which type of salt is called for so that’s the bad news!
Now here’s the good news: Most of the time it doesn’t matter because in the vast majority of recipes the salt should always be added to taste. Okay: I don’t care how much salt that soup or stew or sauce calls for. I’m not adding all that in I might add a little but I’m going to taste as I go and add more if needed. This way we don’t have to worry about the weights or the measurements or anything. We are simply seasoning with the salt of our choice until we’re happy with how it tastes.
Okay. Where we get into trouble as things like Brian’s and marinades and big products where we can’t season to taste as we go and we have to sort of rely on the measurement, that’s when understanding the difference between these two salts really comes into play. But anyway that’s it at all it two salts that was part one where we deal with the amounts; now we can move into part two:
– How the different salts taste ? And let me begin that by saying all salts taste the same! In fact let me end by saying all salts taste the same whether you’re going to use a fine table salt or kosher salt or a pink Himalayan salts or a super expensive French “fleur de sel”.
Sea salts your final product will taste exactly the same. So really which ones you buy is up to you.
You are the Charles Dickens of salt Pickens, but bottom line there’s absolutely no practical difference between the flavors of the salts, and so concludes part two.
Anyway, I do hope some of you have found this info useful and maybe it helped explain a few salt mysteries from your past so head over to food wishes calm. There’s no ingredient amounts but there is going to be a lot more info! Stay tuned.