Ask Cynthia a Question – 5-3-2012

Priscilla asked:  Why do so many chefs use kosher salt? What is the difference in the various salts?

My answer:  I learned a lot researching this subject. Basically, common table salt that’s found in our kitchen and on our dinner table is a refined product that comes from a salt mine that’s pure sodium chloride. It provides no extra minerals to our bodies other than what might be sprayed on it (iodine, for instance) during processing. It’s perfectly good for the basics our body needs and for use in our kitchen, in fact it’s the best for use in everyday home baking.

Other salts are taken from sea water (you’ll see when you follow the link provided below) are also sodium chloride, plus they offer trace minerals that add enhanced flavor to our food and minerals for our bodies. This is why so many chefs use kosher, sea salt, or some other exotic salt. Chefs use salt other than table salt usually because it offers a flavor they prefer.

My favorite salt is kosher. Some people use certified kosher salt for religious reasons, while others like me use it simply because of the flavor it adds to my dishes. To me it enhances flavor without tasting salty. I believe all kosher salt is coarse (not sure). I also like sea salt, which finely ground like table salt, can be used in baking where the coarse salt cannot be used in baking. Sea salt can also be purchase in coarse varieties, which are quite nice in dishes and at the table.

I find in using kosher salt my food doesn’t get over salted so easily. When using coarse salts the “kernels” are larger or fluffier so it’s less dense, therefore one naturally uses less salt in dishes. Pinches of coarse salt and table salt are not created equal in sodium chloride.

Below is a link provided by Saltworks I think you’ll find informative about different types of salt. I was blown away to learn about salts I’d never dreamed existed.

April asked:  With only two of us to cook for, I like to halve many recipes. When a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you want to make only half the recipe, would you recommend using 1 or 2 eggs?

My answer:

1) If you’re using small or medium eggs use 2 eggs in a recipe that calls for 3, which gives you approximately 1 1/2 eggs. If using large eggs, use 1 egg plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cooking oil and 1 tablespoon heavy cream (or evaporated milk). If using extra large or jumbo eggs, use only 1 egg. FYI: 1 tablespoon cooking oil and 2 tablespoons heavy cream can replace 1 egg in a recipe in combination with other eggs (not as a complete egg replacement in the recipe).

2) Eggs measure differently (less) if they’re slightly beaten. 1 large egg measures out to be 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons. Slightly beat 2 eggs and then measure it, 6 tablespoons of beaten egg equals 1 1/2 eggs (2 tablespoons beaten egg equals 1/2 an egg). Using this method some of the egg might need to be discarded.

Note: This is the method I’d prefer to use.

3) This is a no-brainer but just in case: 2 tablespoons egg substitute or egg white replaces 1/2 an egg.

4) It’s better to use a bit more egg rather than less to stabilize structure (of say a cake).



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