Author Topic: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions  (Read 8225 times)

Offline joyofcheese

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Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« on: June 11, 2009, 04:22:05 PM »
I am a new (< 2 month old) cheese maker, who is currently obsessed with finding cost effective ingredients. I have been using canning/pickling salt instead of cheese salt for my cheeses. I am concerned because I have been adding 2 tablespoons of pickling salt instead of the 2 tablespoons of cheese salt that a recipe calls for, I suspect I am actually adding too much salt because the actual weight, and therefore amount, of 1T of pickling salt is greater than 1T of cheese salt.

When cooking with Kosher salt you need to add more salt than a recipe that assumes you are using table salt. Cooks Illustrated recommends between 1.5 to 2 times as much (by volume).

Can anyone tell me what the proper conversion multiplier is to save me the trouble of buying cheese salt and paying to have it shipped to me so I can do the weight comparisons myself?

By the way, I am not worried about conversions for making a brine, since that is always as much salt as the water will take, i.e a saturated solution. As long as the brine is so saturated that no more salt dissolves, it is what you want.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 06:06:57 PM »
We'd need to know the brand or the weight of one volume of the salt you have. How many grams are in a standard cup (250 ml)? Pickling salts vary. In general, for larger salt crystals, use a multiplier of 1.3-1.5 to get the equivalent volume of a fine grain salt.
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Offline joyofcheese

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2009, 12:27:03 AM »
Good point. Why didn't I think of that?

I am using Morton Canning/Pickling salt, which comes in a green box. I just carefully measured a leveled dry measure cup of it and it came to 272g (9.59 oz) on my digital kitchen scale.

Since I had all of my measuring gear out, I tried weighing 1 cup Morton Kosher salt using the same method. It came to 228g (8.04 oz).

So it takes 1.19 T Morton Kosher salt to equal the amount of 1 T Morton Canning/Pickling salt. Going the other way, 0.83 T pickling salt is equivalent to 1 T of Kosher salt.

I would guess that the density of cheese salt is similar to kosher salt, but it would be nice if someone could confirm.

Realistically, I am probably just going to eyeball what looks to be 4/5 the volume of the granular salt at the 2 gal batches I am at now. Would be cool to know for the future and to have up on forum, though.

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 07:49:28 AM »
I have never used cheese salt, either (the whole shipping issue), but just use either Kosher or pickling salt.  And have noticed that using the pickling salt at the rate requested for cheese salt makes things WAY too salty.  The kosher salt seems to measure out just right, so I would guess that you are right that kosher salt is comparable to cheese salt.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2009, 12:43:31 PM »
I use flaked salt that I make myself and it's about the size of kosher salt after I'm done. Definitely bigger than pickling salt. It weighs in a bit over 230 gr per 250 ml. It's not the "official" cheese salt, but it works well for me.

I bought a large 40 lb bag of water softener salt for $4, not the pressed pellet kind, but the one made from evaporated ocean water from CA. It's 99.99% NaCl, which is good enough for my food standard. And I grind that coarse salt to get the right size. Really cheap that way, especially for making brine.
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Offline joyofcheese

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2009, 07:01:11 PM »
Interesting. How do you grind it? Pepper mill? Or something else ingenious?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 11:50:49 AM »
Ultra cheap coffee bean grinder. Just takes a few seconds :). If I'm feeling adventurous, then the mortar and pestle.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 06:51:51 PM »
I've use water softener salt for ice and snow but not for cooking. Does it disolve well?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 07:04:40 PM »
It's a bit slow if you use the large crystals straight from the bag, but after grinding them up, the salt dissolves quickly.

I originally got the salt to make salt-encrusted roasts and for ice cream, then read the MSDS and saw a video of how it's processed from the time the water is trapped and evaporated to the point where the raw salt is put in the bag, and it really is just sea salt from evaporated ocean water, so I started using it for adding directly to food, too.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2009, 07:19:30 PM »
I may have to try this. Between making cheese and BBQ rubs I am going broke on salt alone! I think the Mortons kosher here is only in 2 pound boxes for about $2 a box. Thanks for the tip!

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2009, 11:56:12 PM »
I want to bring one post of caution so you can make up your own mind. The manufacturers say to not use water softener salt for food...http://www.cargill.com/salt/about/faqs/food/index.jsp#q2

I think that technically they are right, and that they haven't certified the water softener salt to be food safe, so they can't guarantee the purity. It may contain dessicated remains of algae and similar microscopic life. But animals and humans have been using naturally occurring (evaporated and rock) salt for millenia, and it seems to be ok. The biggest impurities are potassium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and magnesium/calcium sulfate. Well, those are the exact same salts that fancy salt like the one from France has. And the expensive French salt is made by gathering water in reservoirs and letting the water evaporate in the sun, which is same process as used to make solar salt for water softeners. I'm okay with that.

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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Salt - Cheese Salt to Pickling Salt Conversions
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2009, 06:13:57 PM »
Well it hasn't hurt you yet ...