Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

79

The salt adds flavor, but it also helps reduce the gelation of the starch in the pasta. The starch in food is the form of microscopic grains. When these grains come into contact with water, they will trap some of it (think cornstarch in cold water), but when the water is hot they swell up like balloons and merge with each other, and you have starch ...


28

The notion that salt or spices specifically don't scale linearly sounds like nonsense to me. In any recipe involving salt and water, the salt is dissolved, so all that matters is the concentration, and that concentration is going to be the same with linear scaling. Scaling in general is problematic when scaling more than 2x or 4x. When you take into ...


25

As Kosher salt goes there is also a difference in the types. Many chefs (myself included) recommend and prefer Diamond Crystal brand Kosher salt. Diamond Crystal (owned by Cargill) uses a patented process of producing salt known as the Alberger Process. In in the interest of keeping the explanation simple, essentially it creates flat salt crystals with a ...


25

Trying to get to the bottom of the issue, I decided to take a few pictures of a few different types of salt. The pictures shown below were taken by me and are all proportional (the camera was the same distance away from each type of salt, so you are getting an accurate size comparison). The picture illustrates my suspicions, which is the difference is the ...


21

Salt is perhaps the most basic and effective flavour enhancer, and so it's fairly obvious why we have it on our dinner tables. The popularity of pepper is down to the Romans, who were crazy about it. Thanks to the longevity of the Roman Empire, pepper was imported for hundreds of years, helping to establish it as the most popular spice, and keeping the ...


20

Definitely don't rinse the salt off. One of the nice things the salt does is pull juices to the surface of the meat--not enough to dry things out, but enough so that when the steak hits the hot pan you have a nice protein-laden coating (it's called a pellicle when talking about smoked fish--not sure about steaks) on the outside to caramelize. If you rinse ...


18

Salt has unique properties in how it interacts with the taste buds. While it has its own "flavor" it also has the ability to enhance some flavors while blocking your ability to experience others. While I could go on, all I would be doing is repeating much of what I learned watching The Food Network's Alton Brown. He goes in depth for the episode "The ...


18

Soften. Other things that typically are added with salt will tend to toughen the beans, but it isn't the fault of the salt. For decades, chefs have circulated the oral tradition that adding salt hardens beans, but it's a myth. Several scientific studies verify that adding salt to the soaking water for dried beans will reduce the cooking times. The first ...


17

I can say, as a salt snob, that sea salt is a far more flavorful product. I can't even use regular table salt anymore. Sea salt is salt formed from evaporated sea water, is not iodized, and because it doesn't come from salt mines requires very little processing. Some people will say that because it's "natural", sea salt must be better for you. The mayo ...


16

Our taste buds are tuned for salt (NaCl), but potassium chloride (KCl) comes pretty close in reproducing the sensation. There are a few commercial salt substitutes that incorporate KCl (Nu-salt, Morton Salt Substitute in the US). As sodium is an essential mineral and potassium may be hard to get out of the body, make sure you ask a doctor before completely ...


15

Depending on brand, it is approximately 1 1/4 tsp per pound (US), or a little more than 1/4 tsp per stick (4 oz). For most applications, yes it is fine to substitute and adjust; you can just adjust the "salt to taste" step of your recipe in many cases. There are a very few uses (such as yeast raised dough) where you want to be more precise. I would not ...


14

I don't know how well a substitution will work in this case, because I don't know how the salt is being used in the recipe. If you're mixing the salt into something where it will dissolve, then go ahead and substitute, using the chart that @ManiacZX linked to. If you're mixing it into cold things, and it doesn't sit for very long, I'd go with a finer salt ...


14

Salt serves two primary purposes in baking: To regulate yeast Salt kills yeast. The addition of salt to a yeast leavened dough prevents the little beasties from growing completely out of control. To enhance and mask specific flavors Salt is almost a universal flavor enhancer. Virtually anything that tastes good, will taste better with salt. What ...


14

In a Good eats episode from the 13th season (The Ballad of Salty and Sweet), Alton Brown explains how salt (specifically the sodium) blocks your tongue's taste buds from sensing bitterness. Sweetness however is not blocked. It also is known to enhance other flavours. Salt on chocolate is awesome for example. Salt also has the ability to still taste salty ...


13

Salt in high concentrations can kill yeast yes. So can sugar, though salt is so much better at it. You see both are hygroscopic, meaning that they suck water out of stuff. This induces osmotic stress to the yeast cells leading eventually to cell breakdown (aka death). On lower concentrations salt will throttle the yeast fermentation producing a richer and ...


13

A few general reasons: As soegaard says, the salt is often better distributed through the food if it's added during cooking. This is especially true for foods which have been carefully assembled; you can't always just stir things up! Some foods also take a while for flavors to soak through; think about potatoes in a chunky soup. If you add salt only at the ...


13

Summary for the Quick Reader Only the shape and size of the grains really makes a difference. Otherwise, salt is salt. What makes a difference between salts? There are only two real differentiators between different types of salt (assuming the product is essentially just salt, and not a seasoning blend): The mineral or other impurities resulting from ...


12

I've noticed that salty food has somewhat of an addictive quality; people who eat a lot of it (i.e. fast food or other processed food) tend to bury their meals under a mountain of salt, whereas people such as myself who do a lot of home cooking hardly use (or want) any. "Season to taste" means pretty much what it sounds like; add however much salt (and ...


12

You'll use less. At least applied at the table, salt is a flavoring which only does it's work at the interface between tongue and food. You don't need a lot, just enough to coat the surface and facilitate the flavor transport. Kind of like grating cheese rather than just blanketing a dish with it. Sometimes less is enough, and smaller flakes of salt ...


12

It's been a while since I made sushi but 2 tablespoons does sound a little on the ridiculous side. Various other recipes use similar amounts (to each other): AllRecipes: 1 tsp salt (for 1/2 cup vinegar and 4 tbsp sugar) Alton Brown: 1 tbsp kosher salt (for 2 tbsp vinegar and 2 tbsp sugar) SushiRecipes: 1 tsp salt (for 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar) ...


12

You may have luck just tossing them in popcorn salt. Popcorn salt is ground much finer than regular salt, and should stick to the surface much easier than the larger grains in table salt or kosher salt. If you don't have popcorn salt, you can start with kosher salt and pulverize it into a fine powder in a food processor, spice/coffee grinder, or mortar and ...


12

Several sources as Cook's Illustrated, Alton Brown, and Anita Lo practically insist that you salt steaks before cooking them. I don't think McGee experiments with or discusses exactly when to season/salt a steak in his books, but he has reportedly stated that he is also in favour of pre-salting. The fact that so many people seem to prefer this technique ...


12

Starch is extensively well-researched in food science, so the short answer is yes, there is an authoritative source; there are a myriad of authoritative sources. The caveat (there's always a caveat) is that food scientists are doing controlled experiments using far more sophisticated methods than pasta and a boiling pot, and they tend to be primarily ...


12

Eggplants differ in bitterness. You can cook some of them and never notice a problem. But other exemplars are quite bitter, and can overwhelm a dish. That's why it is a good idea to preemptively do something to remove their bitterness. I have read dozens of suggestions how to do it. Some are OK, others are downright terrible. Have you tried soaking ...


12

Unshelled peanuts are salted simply by soaking in brine. Some of the salt (and water) gets through the shell, which is a bit porous. They're then re-dried and roasted. I suppose the roasting is optional, but if you're adding salt you clearly want flavor, and that's what roasting's for too. There's a Serious Eats post with a bit more detail if you're curious. ...


11

Salting food has a predictable trajectory. Think of it like a roller-coaster. /\ At first it's not great, then it's great, then it's not great again. Food with no salt will taste one-dimensional and flat. The flavors will not "pop". Add a little salt and the taste of a dish will start to both integrate and become more complex. With the perfect ...


11

In this thread, Lorenzo notes that steaks may end up raw in the center if you only leave 'em out for 10-15 minutes to come up to temperature. I recommend 30 mins, but it will probably vary on what room temperature actually is for you. From Weber's Way To Grill, which recommends salting right when you take them out of the fridge, here's Mr. Purviance's take ...


11

Peter Martin at Chef Talk suggests adding sugar or cider vinegar. He also mentions the old potato trick but says it's not effective for him unless it's only slightly too salty.



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible