Reader Barbara points out that there is no salt post in my ingredients section and asks that I include one. I am vey happy to do that, though I’ll warn you it’ll be short. Why? Because I never use anything other than plain ol’ iodized table salt in my baking. There’s good reason for that: because all baking recipes call for standard table salt or its very near equivalent. Commercial table salts are virtually identical the world over. Those table salts, sea salts (both coarse and fine) and pickling salt all deliver the same amount of salinity by volume. All can be used interchangeably.
Kosher salt (which you see on the upper right) cannot be used interchangeably by volume, and that’s because because the crystal size is so much bigger. Those big crystals don’t settle as closely together in the measuring spoon, which means there are more and larger gaps between crystals, and so less salt flavor per, oh let’s say…teaspoon. To deliver the same amount of salinity that’s contained in a teaspoon of table salt you need 1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt. I should insert here that all salts are equivalent by weight.
The only time I’ll ever use a large crystal salt is as a garnish…maybe on top of caramel or some ganache or something like that. A flake salt like kosher salt is good for that. Even better is a big granular salt like fleur de sel, pictured at the bottom there. The big crystals are fun because they deliver random, uneven bursts of salt flavor and are fun to crunch in your teeth. As for whether these sorts of gourmet salts really deliver different flavors, that’s all balderdash in my opinion. But buy what you like — just don’t try to exchange it spoonful-for-spoonful for table salt in a cake recipe.
For more on salt go here.