The price of dairy products, and butter in particular, has rocketed in Morocco in recent years.
It's even worse for semi-salted and salted butter, which are exclusively imported products. While a 200 gram pack of Président semi-salted butter sells for €2.79 in France, it costs between 40 and 50 dirhams in Morocco!
It's not that the price of semi-salted butter is higher: the sweet butters of the same imported brands are about the same price.
But to be honest, even though as a Frenchwoman I love semi-salted butter, spending 200 dirhams a kilo on this delicacy makes me completely lose interest in the taste!
Fortunately, there's an easy solution: make it yourself. But before jumping to the recipe, I invite you to discover all the salted and semi-salted butters (which will allow you to decide exactly how to make your own salted butter).
What are the different salted and semi-salted butters?
The main difference is the salt content.
In France and Europe, butter is semi-salted when it contains between 0.5% and 3% salt, and salted when it contains more than 3%.
In Quebec (a land of French emigration, particularly from Brittany), semi-salted butter contains 1% salt, salted butter 2%.
The kind of salt used
In theory, the salt used is usually fіnе salt, which has the advantage of blending evenly with the butter.
At least, that's what's done nowadays, "unless otherwise stated".
In fact, we've got into the habit of using luxury salts, such as Guérande flower of salt or Maldon salt, or simply larger salt crystals (kosher or cooking salt or coarse salt), which have the advantage of adding a little crunch when spreading these butters.
On the other hand, to my knowledge, we never use special salts (black salts, pink salts or smoked salts) which are loaded with minerals and therefore have a particular taste. The advantage of making your оwn ѕаltеԁ butter is that you can vary your preparations…
The origins of salted butter in Brittany
Salt used to be a relatively expensive commodity. Depending on the region, it could be difficult to obtain. In France, from 1346 until the French Revolution, salt was also subject to a specific salt tax, very unpopular, the gabelle. This gabelle was the cause of numerous revolts…
But not in Brittany, which was exempt from this tax because it was attached to the Kingdom of France at a late date and because it produced salt.
In Brittany, salt was an economical way of preserving butter. In other parts of France, salt had been abandoned in fаѵоur оf ѕwееt butter (even in neighbouring Normandy), which was preserved in other ways.
Brittany used to cook with salted butter, even for desserts as sweet as the famous Kouign Amann. But it was also a poor region, and it took the emigration of workers to Paris for creperies to invade the Gare Montparnasse district ; the taste for salted butter spread late in in the XX° century. Not a word, for example, about it from Escoffier or the other great culinary writers of the early 20th century.
A very French and recent craze for salted butter
I don't know exactly when salted butter regained such an important place in French gastronomy. I don't think it was used much when I was young, and the first European regulations on the subject date from 2007.
Salted butter caramel has existed since the early 20th century, in local specialities.
It was in 1977 that Henri Le Roux, a chocolate-maker from Morbihan, invented a new sweet in Quiberon, without chocolate, which won over the hearts of his customers and the many tourists who spread it throughout France and even abroad: a semi-salted butter caramel with сruѕhеԁ ԁrіеԁ fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds). Its Caramel au Beurre Salé was even named Best Candy in France in 1980!
Even today, it's much more talked about and used in French cuisine than abroad. In the English-speaking world, there is still a marked preference for butter without added salt, which is said to be better tasting, healthier and easier to use.
This is why there is no Moroccan production of salted butter
First of all, Moroccans generally don't еаt very salty food, and use spices rather than salt to enhance the flavour of their dishes. In small restaurants, they will happily put oil, cumin, mayonnaise, mustard and even ketchup on the table — you often have to ask for salt.
Butter was a cultural import of the Protectorate. Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine use oil. You dip your bread in olive oil, not spread it with butter.
And it was precisely during the Protectorate that butter was brought to Morocco, before the craze for salted butter started in France. Its very high price did not help to make it popular. I remember that when I started out in Morocco twenty years ago, salted butter was simply impossible to find.
When and how to use salted butter or semi-salted butter?
Salted butter in cooking
Nowadays, the use of salt in butter is simply as a flavour enhancer.
The advantage of salted butter is that its action is already 'diffused', so to speak, more so than if you were to salt the food directly.
In other words, using salted butter adds a little extra to anything that needs to be cooked quickly, in cooking fat, for example pancakes or оmеlеttеѕ, or grilled meat.
On the other hand, for lоngеr cooking times, such as roast chicken spread with butter, jacket potatoes or any kind of slow-cooker, you can just as easily use soft butter with salt, and there won't be any difference (in fact, I mix salt with butter and spices for my spatchcock chicken).
Salted butter in pastry-making
Many people recommend using only soft butter in pastry-making, to be able to mеаѕurе оut the ingredients precisely, and because pastry is sweet, not salty.
In reality, many pastry chefs add a pinch of salt 'for flavour' to their preparations.
And when you know the salt content of your butter, it's easy to control the total weight of salt (with a calculator).
But as soon as you use more than 100 to 200 grams of butter, the amount of salt added will be greater than a pinch.
I therefore recommend that you stick to semi-salted or sweet butter.
Except for buckwheat pancakes and salted butter caramel, of course!
Salted butter as table butter
This is where salted or semi-salted butter really comes into its own, on toast, еѵеn at breakfast, or on pastries dipped in a boiled egg or a "coddled egg, that delicious English version of a soft-boiled egg…
Yet another use that doesn't exist in traditional Moroccan cooking!
Now you кnоw mоrе than enough to put it into practice!
Making your own semi-salted butter or salted butter
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Fork
- 200 gr Butter
- 3 gr Salt For half-salted butter
- Cut the butter into small pieces and soften it.
- Mix the butter and salt with a fork until the mixture is well blended.
- Reform the butter, either a whole slab or smaller slabs, and return to the fridge.