Salt is the best seasoning there is. If I can have only one spice in my pantry its salt. You can flavor a lot of food with just salt. Its just a matter or using it effectively. When you are cooking, there are many way you can salt your food. The most basic and most important way is seasoning. This is when you salt the food prior to cooking. Finishing salt is the final addition of salt for flavor. You can also add salt to add a bit of texture to your food. Different type of salt will be used for different stages of cooking.
Different type of Salt for Cooking, Brining and Seasoning
There are many different type of salt on the market. The most common one is table salt. They are great all around but there are specialty salt available. While most people think they add different flavor, in reality all they add is different texture. Below, you will find a list of the different type of salt and how they are used for cooking.
Table Salt has a fine granular texture that is great for all purpose cooking. You should use table salt during the initial stage of seasoning. These salt are the recommended salt for wet brines.
Kosher Salt are slightly larger in texture and adds a bit of crunch to cooking. Typically Kosher Salt will be used as a finishing salt. It has no additive like Iodine. These salt are best for dry brining.
Fleur De Sel is a flaky texture like salt. They are great for adding a bit of saltiness to the exterior of food. Because of how light it is, they dissolve much more readily.
Himalayan Pink Salt are salt that has extra mineral that make it look pink. But in terms of flavor, they are identical to salt. Great as a table presentation but offers no added flavor.
Iodized Salt Iodized salt are salt with iodine added to it. These salt are fantastic if you need to add iodine to your diet.
When to Add Salt during Cooking?
You should add salt before, during and after cooking. This ensures that you get a nice even seasoning around the food. Salt takes time for it to penetrate the core of the food. Salting it before cooking will draw moisture out and draw it back it. This helps food retain its moisture and add flavor.
There are some argument that you should add salt only after cooking. This is typically done by cooks who want to avoid over salting the food. The irony of this is that adding salt after cooking, is what makes it overly salty. Since salt does not have time to penetrate the center, it will rest on the top of the food. When you bite into it, it will taste overly salt and flavorless.
Knowing this, when you follow recipes, try to add a bit of salt through each stage during cooking. I would also recommend that you do not follow the salt recipe to a tee. Rather, taste as you go and salt as necessary. This way you can cook it to your taste. If you are cooking for a party with many different preference, you can always slightly under salt the food. This way, they can adjust it to their liking.
Measuring Salt Quantity
Most cookbook measurement will be under the assumption that you are using table salt. Their measurement will typically fall under volume instead of weight. If that is the case, then you might need to adjust accordingly. For example, Kosher salt takes up a lot more volume than table salt. At the same one cup measurement, you might only be getting half of what you will get from table salt.
So if you are substituting kosher salt for table salt, be sure to double the volume. Cookbook that provides measurement in weight are far more accurate. In these situation, I recommend just following the weight even if you use different type of salt.
Best Salt for Brining?
Brining is a fantastic way of seasoning your food. Its adds flavor and helps food retain its moisture. The key ingredient to any brine is salt. As the food sit in the solution, it slowly penetrate into the interior of the food. Without a good brine, only the exterior will be salted. The end result is a over seasoned exterior and under season interior. However, the question is what is the best salt for brining. The answer is simple table salt…
Why Table Salt is Best for Brining
Simply because its the cheapest and that other salt makes little to no difference in flavor. At its core, Salt is sodium. When it is dissolved in a solution, they all taste the same. The difference that you get from the different type of salt is simply a matter of texture. For example, kosher salt is more coarse and that adds more of a crunch to it. Fleur de Sel is a flaky texture which dissolves more readily than table salt. But when added to a liquid, they all taste the same. Even pink Himalayan salt will taste the same as table salt.
One factor that you might want to consider is the time it takes to dissolve. Bigger crystal like those from kosher salt takes longer to dissolve. Some might not even dissolve fully. You either need to heat up the water or stir it vigorously.
Best Salt For Cooking, Brining and Seasoning Thoughts
There are many different type of salt used for cooking. For most task, you are best using general table salt. However, if you want to play with different texture, using different salt will give you this effect. One of my favorite one is kosher salt, since the salt crystal is larger, that added crunch can give food a pleasant feeling. Fleur De Sel is great if you want a slightly more salty food, its dissolves much faster than table salt. If you cannot deal with all the different type of salt, you can always get a salt grinder. This way you can adjust the salt size as much as you like.
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