The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Salt survey

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cranbo's picture
cranbo

Salt survey

Inspired by a recent thread on TFL, I wonder how many bakers here feel that salt is important to the flavor of bread. 

So I set up a little informal survey here:

http://cranbo.wufoo.com/forms/m7x4z5/

With only 2 questions:

  • Do you use salt in your dough when you bake bread?
  • Does baked bread taste good if no salt is used in the dough?

Please take 10 seconds to fill out & submit this survey (one entry per person please :) ) You'll be able to view the results when you submit the survey.

jcking's picture
jcking

I voted. I'm with Alto Brown on the use of salt. Your brain needs salt to function. The salt problem relates to water. Many people don't drink enough. Soda, coffee, tea and such are dirty waters. Good old plain water, my doc says 3 liters a day, is needed to flush out the system. As a kidney stone and prostrate cancer survivor I highly recommend more water and cautious salt usage.

Jim

Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

Unless we have a tremendous amount of bakers who love Tuscan cuisine above all else I'd be surprised it's anything but a vast majority of salt-users.

KNEADLESS's picture
KNEADLESS

This survey seems too general and leaves a lot of unanswered questions.  I am a 75 year old with COPD  which started last year.  I have been put on a very low salt diet which makes certain foods  taste flat if not awful.  I have been following this site since its inception and I've always thought that adding 1 to 1 1/2 tbls. of salt to 1 lb. of flour is excessive   I now add a scant tsp. and I still get good flavor.

 Recently I have seen health articles saying that bread such as sandwich loaves at 150 to 200 mg. of salt per slice, are the highest contributors to excess salt problems.  (Recommended daily levels are 1000-1500 mgs.)

I have been diabetic for 30 years and regulating sugar levels is a piece of cake (nice pun huh!) compared to cutting salt down to minimal levels.

 

Georgbe Schauner

 

 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Georgbe,

I think Cranbo put up the survey in response to another thread, which asked a question about adding salt at a particular time.  There were some comments  lauding the taste of bread containing no salt at all, and some reactions to that.  

I saw the same articles about excess sodium in bread that you did.  I haven't purchased supermarket bread in four years so don't have any labels to look at, but have a hunch that the stuff bagged in plastic sitting on market shelves (with an expiration date of weeks in the future) may have been the target of that excess sodium claim.   It's not just the salt that's a problem in that awful stuff.  It's all the additives, chemicals, and bleached and bromated flour.  

In general, 1.8 to 2 percent (salt) of the weight of the flour is called for in most recipes.  I've dropped it down to 1.5% and am happy with the results.  That's one of the benefits of baking your own bread.  You have total control over the ingredients.  

That same benefit applies to all the food we eat, if we prepare it ourselves using fresh (local or home grown) ingredients.

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

I think that bread tastes odd without ANY salt, but it doesn't need as much as most recipes call for... one can usually cut that salt amount in half at least and still achieve great taste.  My husband is on a salt-free (goal) diet... cutting back on the volume is essential.

 

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Hi cranbo

Good idea of yours to start a separate thread on the use of salt in bread. I'd like to see a full discussion of its merits and drawbacks. We're not all going to agree, but it would be good to get everyone's view in a single thread.

(For those interested, here's the original thread in which I disagreed with some of the statements made by the author in the link given by cranbo:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27397/salt )

However, question 2 is somewhat of a leading question. I would have preferred to see questions along the lines of:

Is salt essential in bread?

Is it your experience that bread suffers when salt isn't used?

Do we use too much salt in bread?

Do we over-play its importance in bread?

Then there's the question of what exactly what we mean by bread? Would you use salt in a cinnamon roll recipe? Or with iced buns?

Speaking personally, I would only put salt in plain or savoury breads - I never use it in sweetened breads, haven't done so for many years.

Maybe the fact that too much salt will kill the yeast – or at the very least severely retard its growth - making it an ingredient that has to be treated with caution, is the reason that so much is made of its use?

But, IMO, we should be more relaxed about it. To my mind it’s just another ingredient that we can include or leave out as we wish. If we do include it then the amount can be adjusted to suit our particular taste.

I've thought for many years that too much salt disguises the natural flavours of our foods. There are other ways of introducing flavour into our breads (apart from leaving flour and yeast to mature together for a period) - the use of boullion powder and herbs into a pizza base, for instance. (I like a touch of curry powder in mine! :) )

Another point that comes to mind is that the insistence on rigid rules - such as "Salt should be used at a rate of 2% of the weight of flour" - has the effect of putting off beginners, or those who would like to get into breadmaking.

I'm sure there's more, but I've run out of steam!

Regards, Paul