Official Ingredients of the Southern Living Test Kitchens
Story by Julie Grimes
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We use Land O Lakes Salted Butter in all recipes, unless otherwise specified.
Why Land O Lakes? Because it’s widely available, and it’s always consistent. (Land O Lakes is 81% butter fat, 1.3% milk solids and 17.7% moisture.) Some bargain brands are less consistent and contain more water.
Butter (as opposed to margarine or “butter spread,” etc.) must contain 80% milk fat. Premium butter contains more, and products below 80% cannot be called butter.
It’s the amount of water you want to know about because that’s what can wreck your recipes.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: Lower moisture butters result in better-textured baked goods and better flavor in general. The amount of water (or moisture) in butter can make the difference between cookies that hold their shape and those that spread and burn. And because high-quality butter has less water, savory applications, like sauces, will taste better also.
Salt is used as a preservative in butter production. Although spoilage is not much of a problem today, salted butter stays fresh longer than unsalted.
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We use: Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour in all recipes calling for all-purpose flour.
Why Pillsbury? Because it’s widely available and consistent.
Fun facts:Hard wheat makes high-protein, glutenous flour that’s used in bread baking. Soft wheat contains more carbohydrates and less glutens, so it’s best in baked goods with delicate texture, such as biscuits. All-purpose flour is a blend of these two types of flour.
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We use: Domino granulated sugar (unless otherwise specified).
Why Domino? It’s a nationally distributed brand that’s widely available. And Domino is consistent, meaning, the crystals are always fine and don’t tend to clump.
Fun fact: Domino is made from pure cane sugar. Although there are mixed opinions as to whether there’s a difference between cane sugar and beet sugar, many professional bakers believe cane sugar is superior.
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We use: Morton Table Salt (unless otherwise specified).
We use: Diamond Crystal brand.
Why Diamond Crystal? Like most restaurant chefs, we like the pyramid shape of each grain of Diamond Crystal salt, and we like that it doesn’t have added ingredients, such as iodine or sodium ferrocyanide, which are found in other brands.
Fun fact: 1 tsp. table salt = 1 1/4 tsp. Morton kosher salt = 1 3/4 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt