Maldon sea salt and kosher salt are just two of many different types of salt prized by serious cooks. Chefs often have both on hand despite the fact that they are almost identical in terms of their chemical makeup. The fact is that despite the fact that they are both salts, they each bring very different qualities to the dishes in which they are used. Let’s compare them in another SPICEography Showdown.
How does Maldon sea salt differ from kosher salt?
If you place a teaspoon of Maldon salt next to a teaspoon of kosher salt, the first differences that you will notice are the size and shape of the respective flakes. Maldon sea salt consists of larger pyramid-shaped crystals while kosher salt can vary in crystal size, but its crystals are usually coarse and irregular in shape. Keep in mind that its original purpose was to draw the blood from meat according to Jewish dietary law. This required salt crystals that were large enough to not dissolve and be drawn into the meat, but small enough to adhere and not simply fall off. The size is important since the larger the crystals, the less actual salt you will be able to fit into a teaspoon or other measuring vessel. The reason for this is that you will be fitting in more air between the particles.
The next big difference has to do with cost. Maldon sea salt is considered a luxury item and is priced accordingly. It is expensive when compared to kosher salt, which is more expensive than regular table salt but is usually still affordable.
Lastly, there are the actual compounds that make up the salt. Maldon sea salt is mostly sodium chloride but will contain minerals from seawater. These minerals will be present only in trace amounts but can still affect the flavor. Maldon is known for having a light flavor that passes quickly without lingering. Kosher salt can be made from seawater but is often made from mined salt, which means that it will not have these minerals.
Can you use Maldon sea salt as a substitute for kosher salt and vice versa?
Both Maldon sea salt and kosher salt are primarily salty. You can use them interchangeably in any dish where the salt flavor is the only thing you want. That said, each of these salts excels in its own area and it would be a waste to use them as you would use table salt. Maldon sea salt can be used in place of kosher salt, but it will cost you more and may not as easy to measure accurately.
You can use kosher salt as a substitute for Maldon but a discerning eater will be able to tell the difference instantly. Kosher salt will not have the distinctive crunch of Maldon’s large crystals nor its light, briny flavor.
When should you use Maldon sea salt and when should you use kosher salt?
Use Maldon sea salt for finishing and nothing else. Because it is chemically similar to kosher salt but so much more expensive, you should use it where its unique qualities will be highlighted. The right applications allow you to enjoy its visual appeal as well as the crunch that it adds to foods. Because of the price, you may also want to reserve it for seasoning your more expensive ingredients. Kosher salt is great for seasoning before cooking and is a wonderful complement for both vegetables and meat.