The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I can taste.... salt

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Grenage's picture
Grenage

I can taste.... salt

Howdy again!

I used to put 1% salt into my loaves, but after recommendations, moved up to 2%; this has helped slow down the sourdough yeast, which is what I really needed.  The problem now is that I can taste the salt, which for me is generally an indicator that I've added too much.

I 'was' using table salt (don't hate me), but last night I bought some rock salt and used a Pestle & Mortar.  The results were much better, but I can still taste salt - albeit not as much.

Has anyone else experienced this?  I'm wondering if I can get away with less salt, by working in more stretches and folds.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I use unrefined celtic sea salt from France.  As it is not chemically treated there is no chemical residue on the salt and it retains a great many trace minerals essential to life itself.  Not only that, it tastes good.

Jeff

Grenage's picture
Grenage

While this rock salt apparently has no additives (a far cry from the table salt), I guess I should look at some alternatives and compare the results.

fancy4baking's picture
fancy4baking

I see that 2% of sea salt is well enough as per me. So unless you are not enthusiast for saltiness i think 2% is quite normal. You can try rock salt finely ground but in lower than 2% say for example 1.5%. For me i use rock salt finely ground and sifted in the ratio 2% and it taste normal and just brings about flavors of all other ingredients.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Salt is salt - if it is dissolved it doesn't matter what kind you use.

You can use as little or as much as you want.

I am curious about what you observed to be "much better" when you used rock salt, and what objective measure you used.

There are generally so many poorly controlled variables when making sourdough bread that the type of salt will make no significant difference in the end result.  If you think otherwise, please describe here your exact process and the instrumentation/methods you use for control.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Hi Doc,

When I say 'better', I mean that couldn't taste the salt as much as I could when using table salt.  While I agree that salt is salt, the table salt has a lot of powder in it that quite obviously is not salt; I'm sure it's just anti-caking agents, but they taste different.

I figured that since the salt isn't being broken down, the amount I add is the amount I taste, regardless of the process.  It's possible that I'm just overly sensitive to the taste; I don't generally add much salt to anything, and only ever during the cooking stage.  My Father on the other hand....

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

2%! Ha! Let's try 5%. If the sourdough isn't taking 10 hours to double, we need more salt!

Like doc says, salt is salt is salt (update re: Doc.Dough/G-man: if dissolved salt is salt is salt), and the 'additives' of table salt are in such small quantity that, after using it at 2% in a bread, you couldn't possibly discern them (unless you're some sort of supertaster).

Me thinks your are psyching yourself out.

Careful with those rock salts. Always weigh it. Don't think 1 T of rock salt is the same as 1 T of table salt. You'll be off by half or more.

G-man's picture
G-man

And it's worthwhile to linger on that for a bit longer.

If you're dissolving the salt first there's no difference between types of salt.

Conversely, if you're not dissolving the salt, there ARE differences. Big ones, actually, that will impact everything from the point you normally add salt on. Since it isn't dissolving as rapidly it may not all be dissolving, which will impact the flavor and how your sourdough rises, which will also impact the flavor of course.

You might try adding the salt to the starter itself before you put it all together. Also keeping the dough in a cooler place will impact the rising time.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I use between 1.6 % and 1.8% in most recipes.  You certainly have the option to choose as much salt as you desire.  I have to agree that 1% is not a lot but you don't have to stay with whole numbers jumping to 2%.  Try 1.5 % and see if you like it.    

Grenage's picture
Grenage

well 11g of salt is a lot, especially in only 575g of flour; I was/am questioning if I misunderstood something somewhere.  Back when I was using baker's yeast, I only ever added half a teaspoon!

I'll try dissolving the salt in water. and see if it makes any difference.  I'll dabble some with the volumes too!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Salt is salt and some of us have sensitive tastebuds, especially when we don't oversalt our food.  I don't think disolving it first in water will make any difference,  you will still taste it.    1.5% is  8.6 g    

Tip:  Adding dairy will reduce the taste of salt.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I tend to avoid dairy wherever I can, so it's very rare that I'll use it in my food.  I'll try your advice and take it down a notch, if I get too many large bubbles again, I'll work in some extra folds at shorter intervals.

Thanks again for your advice, I do love this site.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

  • increase salt (oops)  :)
  • lower the dough temperature, start out with ice water
  • use less starter or yeast in the recipe
  • retard the dough soon after mixing up the dough
  • avoid malt
  • reduce hydration of the dough, stiffer doughs take longer to ferment

Anyone think of anything else?   

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Good tips, and I can probably take the starter volume.  At the moment I use 150g starter and 500g, although I just did a batch with 200g starter and 1000g flour.  Considering I had no rise issues with either, I could try halfing that!

BloomingNutria's picture
BloomingNutria

"Other ways to slow down fermation . . . can anyone think of anything else?"

The tiniest bit of citric acid will slow down fermentation. I know it may be heresy from a purist's perspective, but if all else fails and he can't stand the taste of the salt . . . we are talking sourdough here, after all.

 

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Salt is salt............However, what is attached to the salt, or not, can vary greatly.  Unrefined sea salt and that scary stuff in a round blue box have little in common even though they are both salt.

Jeff

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The stuff that isn't salt is impurities, but I am not sure whether to differentiate between impurities that dissolve and impurities that do not dissolve (such as the calcium silicate that is added to table salt as an anti-caking agent). Potassium iodide is a soluable impurity but at a concentration that is not detectable by taste (at least for me). Sea salt has lots of soluable impurities, some of which impart a bitter taste at high enough concentrations.

If you really like the taste of salt, but don't want to add a full 2% to the dough, you can reserve part (up to about half) of the 2% and sprinkle it on top just before the bread goes into the oven.  That way you get a blast of salt from the crust but the crumb is not salty at all.  When I did the test I came down on the side of using the full 2% and putting 10% of it on top.

Do this test: take any three salts you like and dissolve them at 1.00g per 100g of water (1%, paying close attention to accurate measurement) then filter them through a coffee filter or some sterile cotton.  Have somebody set up a blind sampling of six (2 from each salt) and try to figure out which pairs go together. There are 12 ways to pair them randomly. If you can get two pair correct, the third one is right too. There are 120 ways to pick the first pair, but really only 5 that count which gives you a 1 in 5 chance of getting the first one right by guessing.  You get the idea.  Do it three times and report back with your success rate.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

A better look at unrefined sea salt reveals far more than impurities:

"... recent analysis demonstrated that Celtic Sea Salt® contained at least 75 minerals and trace elements. The following lists the most predominant elements revealed by this analysis."

 mg per 1/4  tsp% mg per 1/4  tsp%
Chloride601.25 mg50.90%Zinc0.03 mg.00275%
Sodium460 mg33.00%Copper0.02 mg.00195%
Sulfur9.7 mg.820%Erbium0.02 mg.00195%
Magnesium5.2 mg.441%Tin0.02 mg.00192%
Potassium2.7 mg.227%Manganese0.02 mg.0018%
Calcium1.5 mg.128%Cerium0.02 mg.00172%
Silicon1.2 mg.052%Fluoride0.01 mg.00109%
Carbon0.6 mg.049%Rubidium0.01 mg.00084%
Iron0.14 mg.012%Gallium0.01 mg.00083%
Aluminum0.11 mg.0095%Boron0.01 mg.00082%
Praseodymium0.04 mg.0029%Titanium0.01 mg.00079%
Strontium0.03 mg.00275%Bromine0.01 mg.00071%

 

This information is from   http://curezone.com/foods/salt/Celtic_Sea_Salt_Analysis.asp

Grenage's picture
Grenage

For sheer amusement I'll have to try this, just to see if I can tell the difference.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

If you taste various salts by themselves in a raw state, the differences can be dramatic.  This is essentially the equivalent of using table salt.   Once salt is cooked in food or put into solution and filtered, it becomes difficult if not impossible to tell the difference.

Jeff

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Every so often I buy 'wet salt' from France, which is brown/grey and coarse, and accompanied by visible non-salt material that looks like flecks of seaweed. It's a nice idea to be using unrefined "sel de mer" with all those apparently desirable mineral (and it seems, vegetable!) extras, but I can't discern any difference in flavour between SD breads containing sel de mer and those containing my usual supermarket non-name pure sea salt.

Yet, as Jeff observes, the difference in taste between the two salts is easily noticeable if you taste them by themselves (weird sort of test though, when you think about it - who eats salt unaccompanied?).

As for proportion of salt in bread, tastes vary according to many factors, not least of which is the extent to which your palate is desensitised to salt through having a high average daily salt intake. I have first-hand experience of this since radically reducing salt in cooking and bread after my partner was diagnosed with kidney impairment. On the rare occasions we eat out, food seems excessively salty. Ditto when we travel to SE Asia, where the street food we favour is very salty due to the pervasive use of fish, soy, oyster and other salty sauces. We have noticed we quickly become desensitised to salty flavours again - in a little as a week or two.

So, for folk with a high average daily salt intake - which in the typical western diet is pretty bloody high, especially if you eat out a lot or buy takeaway - 2% salt in bread will be the barest minimum acceptable. For people with salt-sensitive taste buds 2% is on the high side. Like Mini, I drop the salt in my SD breads to 1.5 - 1.8% max. My sense is that lower salt content allows subtle flavours to emerge that may be lost in the background when salt content is upped to 2% or higher.  But that's a subjective view. Tastes vary, of course, regardless of average dietary salt intake.

If you reduce salt too far in bread, it is not only flavour that is compromised. As anyone who has forgotten to add salt to a dough will attest to, the dough texture and proofing is affected if no salt is present - in my opinion adversely. Then again, there's a traditional Tuscan bread that has no salt, so I guess thousands of Tuscans - at least - would challenge me on this!

Whatever, in my view, Grenage, go with your taste. If you find a bread too salty, drop the salt content until you've tweaked it to your taste.

Cheers!
Ross

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Thank you for an in-depth reply, I was not aware of the Tuscan bread (I'm unaware of many things); at least now I know that I can play around a little more.  I've given a loaf to someone at work today; that was from the same batch of dough, so I can see what they think!

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The reason that traditional Tuscan bread has no salt is that they refused to pay the heavy salt tax levied by Pisa. There's no reason to make bread without it anymore other than tradition and now tourism...,

Wild-Yeast

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

....and once you taste saltless bread, you will know first hand that there is no reason to make this bread and that some traditions are better left in the past.

Jeff

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Seconded, thirded...whatever!  Didn't know the origins of saltless Tuscan bread - sheesh, you gotta wonder how that tradition endured. Tax aversion is as universal as tax evasion, but there are occasions when it's better to just cough up!

Grenage's picture
Grenage

There's certainly no love for saltless bread around here. ;)

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

www.saltworks.com     I am currently in love with Hickory and Applewood smoked sea salts.  And so good in rye bread :)

Anna

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

@Anna, it's a magic ingredient that no one can taste yet brings rave reviews [the perfect secret ingredient].

I smoke sea salt along with cheese when using the smoke oven.

A good hardwood combination for sour dough is apple, cherry and a small addition of alder wood. 

Wild-Yeast

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

enhanced by your smoked sea salt, then topped by your smoked cheese, heaven !

anna

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

salt, actually quite easy since my husband uses both the smoker and the gas grill.  Ok, having said that, I am getting in the mood for smoked turkey, besides deep-fried turkey, a smoked bird has to be the absolute best.

anna

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

http://www.food52.com/blog/3377_10_salts_to_know

Yay, salt!

At first I thought the Himalayan was a filet of salmon.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I added it to my favorites and will read in detail later.   Super !

Thank you !

anna

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I had no idea that smoked salt existed, how interesting!

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

http://www.saltworks.us/gourmet-sea-salt.asp     or   www.spicesage.com

I have purchased the applewood in bulk from saltworks

and a smaller hickory, soooo good

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

I love the www.myspicesage.com applewood smoked sea salt.  I use it for hamburgers and steaks on the cast iron grill pan in the oven.    Their hickory smoke powder (sans salt) is a good component for pork butt rubs.   I haven't thought about making bread with a smoky component.  Hmmm.  I wonder.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

If this turns into another obsession, my wife will kill me!

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

armor  ;)

 

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

After reading this thread, decided to try the smoked salt in the bread with grated sharp cheddar added, too.  And since I made it with the whey I had leftover from making some mozzi for a recent pizza, it had citric acid in it, too.  It made great bread.  So, plain flour, water, salt and yeast make good bread but so do flour, whey, applewood smoked salt, and yeast with a bunch of cheddar thrown in. 

Formula:

100% GM Better for Bread flour

70% whey (which came from a whole milk, citric acid, junket rennet batch of cheese)

2% applewood smoked salt

1.5% SAF yeast

20% grated "Seriously Sharp" Cabot cheddar

Three 45-minute stretch and fold cycles; baked at 375F for 1 hour.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I once contemplated buying 30 lbs. of their butter (for croissant and the like) and just freezing it.

We don't have Cabot anything, not cheese, not butter in Colorado.

That bread looks yum.

(Rennet is a beast. I can't tell you how many soft cheese I ruined before I realize that rennet is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really potent. Just a drop is too much by a factor of 10.)

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Our local Walmart has the sharp Cabot cheese.  As to the rennet -- I'm just starting to play with it. 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Great bread.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

How's it taste?

Wild-Yeast

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

The smokiness is pretty mild.  The cheesiness, good.  Yummy bread.  Great toasted as a butter platform.