What’s your favorite salted butter that’s available at most grocery stores/Whole Foods? I’ve tried Plugra, Kerrygold, Tillamook, Trader Joe’s, and a bunch of others and they’re just not salty or rich enough for me. My perfect salt level for butter is Rodolphe Le Meunier Beurre De Baratte, which is my favorite, but it’s a little too pricey for me to use as an everyday butter.
As a avid baker, there are generally two reasons people sometimes prefer salted over unsalted butter.
Stays fresh longer. As salt is a natural preservative, salted butter will stay fresh longer either refrigerated or not. Unsalted butter, even when refrigerated, has a tendency to go rancid before people have a chance to use it.
Ambient odors/flavors. Unsalted butters, when left in the fridge, is more apt to pick up ambient flavors, smells, odors, etc. from adjacent foods in the fridge. Salted butter? Less so.
So, there you go.
Plus, people get their diapers all wadded up about being ever so precise in baking. And, yes, generally baking is a precision exercise in measurement (preferably by weight, not volume) but an extra pinch of salt here or there never ruined any baked item – sweet or savory – nor harmed any human being.
Have you tried the TJ’s cultured salted butter from Brittany? It’s been my everyday butter since they’ve started carrying it. It’s the same price as Kerrygold, but I like it much better. I don’t know if it’ll be salty enough for you (it’s salty enough for me), but the QPR on it is very good.
Salted vs. unsalted is really just a matter of taste. Before refrigeration people kept butter under brine to keep it from going rancid or moldy, but with modern refrigerators and plastic wrap salted and unsalted butter both keep for months, longer than they ever last in my house. The expiration data on the Plugra we bought yesterday is 17 weeks away.