On Kouign, Salt & Butter

Reader Diane offers a flurry of interesting questions:

I was under the impression that salted butter has more water content than unsalted butter. I may be wrong. And it seems you wanted drier butter for Kouign Amann. So why not use unsalted butter in Kouign Amann? Also when buying salted butter I do not know how much salt is there. So If I want to use unsalted butter, so that I can control the salt, can I add the salt to the pastry? If so how much?

Taking the first part first, salted butter doesn’t have more moisture than unsalted butter, it’s simply salted. And while some butter manufacturers list how much salt is in their butter, not all of them do. I usually take the words “lightly salted” to mean 1% salt, and “salted” to mean 2% salt. That’s not based on any industry knowledge, mind you, mostly wishful thinking.

Lastly, you can indeed substitute unsalted butter for salted butter in kouign amann and salt the dough instead. Use 2 teaspoons of salt in the mix. Your rising time will need to double in that case, since the salt will keep the yeast reproduction down. Proofing time will increase by about 75%.

Thanks for the email, Diane!

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