For years, I never bought salted butter, fearing it would change the taste of homemade foods. I preferred to add my own salt in recipes in order to keep better tabs on the sodium levels of the foods I serve to my family. One visit to Paris and I tossed that convention out the window. After slathering salted butter on a hot baguette, I was forever hooked. In fact, I began searching for really good butter back at home. That mission proved overwhelming, so we asked our taste panel for some help. Overall, they compared 16 brands. This week we will share their comments about the first eight, followed by a second column next week. I used the leftover salted butters in several recipes after the tasting and didn't notice a difference in taste in my sauteed or baked foods.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent