The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How much salt do you use?

mennyaka1's picture
mennyaka1

How much salt do you use?

I just got my new scale and started baking with it and it made my wonder:


How many grams of  salt do you use is your standard sourdough recipe? I usually make a 70% hydration dough with whole wheat or 70% whole wheat flour.


I always use grey sea salt.


I'll be happy to get any thoughts and information you have about it.


Thanks! Menny

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I use 1% of the total dough weight.  I believe what's usually recommended is 1 - 2 baker's percentage.  With a 70% hydration dough, 1% of the total weight would be 1.7 baker's percentage.  It's easy and I like the taste.


:-Paul

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I use 2 to 2.4 per cent.  So I would drop in two teaspoons (12 grams) for a dough that was made with 500 grams of flour.  I find 10 grams (2 per cent in 500 grams of flour) good, but I like my bread to have a little bit more saltyness to it.


I don't tend to butter my bread, so your mileage may vary.


 


 

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I'm a sea salt girl myself.  Before I started weighing it was about 2 teaspoons per 3.5 cup loaf.  Now I use 8-12 grams depending on the bread.


It really does depend on your taste.  I butter my bread most of the time, but when I know it's going to be eaten plain with soup I tend to add a bit more salt than usual.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Artisanal bakers usually use anywhere from 1.8% of the total flour weight on up to 2.2%.  The lower figure is usually for breads where the baker wants to be certain that salt doesn't mask certain aromas.  I've never been in that camp though -- 2 to 2.2% works great for me, and 2% is the most common level.  Above 2.2% the salt usually becomes noticeable, and by that I mean that instead of brightening all other flavors, the salt level makes the bread taste salty.  Not a good thing, generally.


Of course, in Tuscany and Umbria, Italian baker's use virtually no salt in their bread.  Salt wasn't even commonly used in bread dough until around the late 1600's.  Nobody really knows why these two regions of Italy have hung on to the saltless tradition while others didn't, although there are theories that will never be proven.


I'd encourage you to weigh all ingredients in comparison to total flour weight when calculating your percentages.  That's the international "language" that bakers use to converse about their doughs with one another, and then no matter how wet or dry your dough is, the meaning of the percentages will be the same.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you like to "create" variety with your favorite recipe, you will find that some added ingredients require just a little more salt like potatoes, squash, and corn to make them taste "right." 


When adding olives, capers, cheese, bacon, or other salty foods it is better to reduce the salt in the dough recipe.  It all depends on your personal taste and the foods you eat with your bread.


Mini


 

mennyaka1's picture
mennyaka1

you folks are great!!!!


I didn't expect to get so much information and one that is so interesting!


keep it coming!


thanks, Menny

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

If you weigh your salt, it doesn't matter what kind of salt you use; most formulas call for about 2% of total flour weight.  If you measure by volume, you'll get different results for finely ground (table salt) vs coarsely ground (kosher salt, probably sea salt too).  Some people who measure by volume for cooking distinguish between the 2 biggest brands of kosher salt - Morton and Diamond Crystal; one is more finely ground than the other, but I don't remember which.  


Can you really tell the flavor difference of the type of salt in bread?  Or do you use grey sea salt for other cooking and that's just what you have around?

arzajac's picture
arzajac

I can taste a difference between sea salt and table salt.  I only use sea salt.  When I use table salt I find that it gives my food a "medicine" flavor.  That flavor even comes through in bread.


For example, I made baguettes at my in-laws' a few months ago and when I sliced them open, it felt like they came straight out of a pharmacy.


My mother-in-law says that she can't tell a difference, though.  She thinks anyone who buys sea salt at a higher cost than table salt is wasting their money.


 


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

A lot of people can tell a difference in flavor between some sea salts and standard table salt, especially if they are isolated and tried side-by-side.  The difference can often be what minerals are bonded to the sea salt crystals, or even the differing textures that certain salts have.


  Still, at a rate of 2% of flour weight, with all the salt dissolved and dispersed throughout the dough, it's pretty unlikely that most folks can tell a difference in flavor with bread dough applications.  I'm not saying you're wrong, arz, but only a blind, side-by-side tasting of baguettes with sea salt and baguettes with table salt would make that claim credible.  And, since you'd have a 50-50 shot of guessing correctly anyway, a better test would be trying 3-5 of one type and the same number of the other, mixed up and in a blind tasting.  Cook's Magazine tried this sort of test, and they concluded that in bread applications there wasn't significant difference unless the salt was used as a topping.


Since I wasn't there, I can't say what that medicinal flavor was in your baguette, but I'm wondering if you pulled them from the oven when the alcohol had not yet burned off completely?  If the smell was like alcohol, that almost had to be the case, and an underbaked loaf can be gummy and unpleasant to eat.

jisgren's picture
jisgren

Usually the medicine taste from using table salt is from using iodized table salt.  The iodine imparts a distinct flavor that is hard to mask.  There are non-iodized cartons of table salt available.

mennyaka1's picture
mennyaka1

Thanks for your comments!


I use grey sea salt for everything and I find it great. I never tried baking with any other kind so I can't tell if there is a difference but I like the taste of my bread...

mennyaka1's picture
mennyaka1

Thanks for your comments!


I use grey sea salt for everything and I find it great. I never tried baking with any other kind so I can't tell if there is a difference but I like the taste of my bread...

BNLeuck's picture
BNLeuck

I use non-iodine kosher salt, and I can say, I taste the difference as well. I used to use sea salt (for the same reason, since I could easily find sea salt without iodine in my area) but I found the larger crystals annoying, as they don't readily blend with other flavors, you just end up with a big burst of salt when you crunch into the crystals. Kosher salt are little flakes that play well with others. But back on topic, when I switched from table salt to sea salt because of a pregnancy-related iodine problem, I definitely noticed the difference. I can't eat table salt anymore because I can taste the iodine, and I agree, it has a medicine-y flavor.