The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newby Doughboy.....Lowest salt to salt free in a bread machine --- Looking for a Yeast to Salt metric

Augmister's picture

Newby Doughboy.....Lowest salt to salt free in a bread machine --- Looking for a Yeast to Salt metric

I found your site last night and did a lot of studying and reading.  Learned a great deal on your very good website.  Wife needs to be under 500 mg of salt per day due to hypertension and the only thing we really miss in our diet  is bread.   So I bought a bread machine (Sunbeam 5891) and baked the first loaf last night - no salt.  Results exceeded our expectations!  Excellent texture and the flavor was surprising good for lack of salt.  This is going to be addictive!

My first success was a simple 1.5 lb white bread with no salt, run on the basic setting on the bread machine: three cups of bread flour (KAF), 1.87 TSP of Fleshman's Instant Yeast, 9 oz of warm water, one TBSP of sugar and two TBSPs of Extra Virgin olive oil.  Next time, I will add 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning or 1 tsp of Rosemary and 1 tsp of onion or garlic powder.

As one teaspoon of salt = 2350 mg., I want to convert receipes I find for machines bread down to 1/4 tsp or less.  If I eliminate or drastically reduce salt, how does this effect the amount of instant (bread machine) yeast in the receipe?   I know baking bread is a lot of trial and error, but I am looking for a metric that gives me a baseline of how much I should decrease the yeast.   Any ideas?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

First, Welcome to the site!

In my humble opinion, I would not decrease the yeast.  But just decrease the salt to your tastes.   Although salt varies normally between 1.6 to 2.2%  (of the flour weight) it sounds like your recipe is closer to 0.5%.  Salt-free bread usually doesn't rise as high as its salted counterpart so reducing the yeast might not be a good idea. 

What I hear from bread machine enthusiasts, many find that if a recipe tends to overproof in the bread machine the bread bakes better if the yeast is reduced.   That may not be the case with low salt.  As you have tried the recipe with low salt with success, sticking to the yeast in the recipe is easy.  Try keeping the yeast amounts that work for your machine.

You also found that by adding more spices also reduces the need to add more salt.  Go for it!  Caraway, whole or ground, is one of my favorites.  (I also add it to boiling potatoes.)


Janknitz's picture

I agree with Mini--you don't necessarily need to reduce the yeast.  Doing so can mess with the rising times, and that can be difficult to manage in a bread machine unless you routinely take the dough out of the machine to shape and bake it.  Lack of Salt may affect the bread's texture or rising to some degree.  You will have to see what works with various formulas. 

If you look around in almost all of the major bread books you will find recipes specifically for salt free doughs that compensate for the lack of salt in the flavor and the properties of the bread.  I have Laurel's Bread Book from the library right now, and she has a formula for a salt-free bread that sounds good. 

Also don't forget that 1 tsp of salt in a whole 1 -1/2 lb. loaf of bread is actually very little salt in a single serving of that bread.  And if you use the same volume of a coarser salt like kosher salt or sea salt, you will probably get enough of the salt's flavor and chemistry as in the original recipe, but less sodium.

Augmister's picture

I have been reading that salt acts to inhibit the yeast action, so am I correct to assume that if I eliminate or cut the salt content by 75%, I must compensate to lower the yeast called for in the receipe?  (Again, I am using a bread machine.)

yozzause's picture

SALT is normally used in bread making at the rate of 2% primarily it is added as it controls fermentation and it also toughens and strengthens the gluten strands, it also enhances flavour.

In a rich bun dough or a fruit dough the salt is added at the rate of 1%

if you are getting good results stick with what you are doing the end result is the main thing and if you are happy and are now able to have something that was denied you before you have to be in front.

I would be a little wary of some of the additives as they can sometimes have salt in them, and it is the total count that you are watching.

regards Yozza

flournwater's picture

Wow!!  Restricted to 500 mg per day must be VERY difficult, given that just about everything you buy in the market that isn't fresh contains salt; lots of salt.

If my math is correct, your 1/4 tsp of salt in the loaf pretty much takes care of your low salt goals, unless she yields to the temptation to consume the entire loaf.  I agree entirely with all the ideas expressed here to this point.  I might try reducing the salt, 25 mg (about half a grain) at a time, until I reached the point that satisfied the preference for low salt and good flavor.  The suggestion for adding the herbs/spices is a great idea, just remember to count these as dry ingredients that may have some affect on the texture of your dough.