I often used to wonder what the difference between using salted and unsalted butter in my baking was, and which was best dependent on what I was making.
When it comes to using butter or margarine I would highly recommend using butter every time because I find that no oil based product can give your baking the same creaminess as butter. Of course, margarine can be great to use in low fat dishes, but when you’re going for taste factor butter is always best.
Now, back to the discussion in hand, salted or unsalted? There is no hidden booby trap here, the only difference between salted and unsalted butter is the added salt. Some recipes specify which variety you should use, meaning they’ve tested the recipe and told you which tastes best. However, you’ll often see that alongside unsalted butter in the ingredients list is a teaspoon or so of salt too.
I particularly like the intensification salt can give to flavours- particularly in certain cakes and when you are using dark chocolate- and so instead of adding extra salt I will opt for salted instead of unsalted butter. The only downside is that you don’t have complete control over your flavours, but I find that by using salted butter you get a more evenly distributed salt flavour than using the stuff itself.