The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Salt?

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Bread Salt?

So I'm moseying around on the Internet and a link takes me to the King Arthur site.  Okay, while I'm here, I'll see if they have anything new or interesting.  And I come across Bread Salt.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/bread-salt-16-oz

The blurb calls it "An all-natural salt that's ideal for bread baking."  It also says "[Its] high mineral content helps feed yeast in a rising loaf. "

Questions:

(1) What makes this salt so special?

(2) Helps feed yeast?

Rosalie 

suave's picture
suave

1. It's $7/lb + S&H, making it what, 20 times more expensive than table salt? 25? + S&H, so make it 50.  Sounds pret-ty special to me.

2. Minerals help the dough grow by strengthening gluten, not by "helping feed the yeast".  So, sadly (albeit not really surprisingly), they don't know what they're talking about.  Well, probably they do, but it's marketing dept that's doing all the talking. 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I have not looked at the KA salt but I do know this much...Unrefined sea salt is a healthy product loaded with trace minerals that are essential to life and it tastes quite good.  Refined salt (that stuff in the round blue box) is a highly processed product stripped of most of its natural goodness and then mixed with things you don't really want.  It does not taste so good and it is really not good for you.

Jeff

flournwater's picture
flournwater

There may be more hype about salt in the cooking and baking industry than any other single ingredient.  Lets go back to basic chemistry.  Remember the bunsen burner?

Most of those who promote one salt over another actually don't know what they're talking about.  Salt that is routinely applied to cooking and baking, is sodium chloride.  It's not the ony salt (we have potasium chloride, potasium iodide, sodium nitrate, etc.) but unless you specify a specific chemical compound in selecting your salt, it's going to be 99% sodium chloride.  The little girl on the round blue box adds iodine (potasium iodide) to her salt as a health benefit.  At least it was a health benefit back in the days when it was first introduced as a prevention against thyroid disease.  It is generally accepted that the shortage of iodine, a necessary part of a healthy diet and usually obtained from vegetables, is not longer an issue in this country.

Depending on the location from where the salt is mined, it will contain trace minerals from its surrounding geological influences.  "Trace" minerals are not significant and, except for the fact that they tend to color salt, I've done double blind tests and I can tell you that no-one can detect the "flavor" of those minerals in their salt  -  especially when it's combined at a rate of 1% or less in a given recipe.  Most people can, however, detect the iodine flavor if potasiuim iodide is added to a sample being taste tested  but once it's in solution in a prepared recipe it's virtually indectable.  Salt can be processed to make it flaky, coarse, etc., but it's still salt.  Even "No Salt" is not salt free.  It's simply potasium chloride.

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

"An increasingly large amount of disease today may be attributable to deficiencies in the supply of trace minerals in our diets....

A minimum of at least 60 trace minerals has been demonstrated to be vital to health and well-being."

http://www.traceminerals.com/research/migraines.html

flournwater's picture
flournwater

It's an advertisement, for heaven's sake.

Linked to this products page:

http://www.traceminerals.com/products.html

An alternative medicine practitioner:

http://www.integrativepractitioner.com/article_ektid944.aspx

"ND" after his name represents:  Naturopathic Doctor  (he's not an MD,  - I wouldn't accept his premise if he were an MD.  A some of them will publish anything to get a hand on the money in your pocket)

A quote from:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2031469_accredited-naturopathic-schools.html

"Naturopathic medical colleges are graduate institutions that offer complete physician training comparable to allopathic medical schools. Students who want to become primary care providers in states that license naturopathy need to attend accredited naturopathic schools. Unsanctioned programs may be limited to one modality, and content may vary. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education evaluates accredited schools periodically to ensure the highest standard of comprehensive natural health care education. Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that can encompass a variety of treatments like acupuncture, massage, and nutritional counseling to treat many different conditions, including allergies, asthma and arthritis."

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

"The number of trace minerals known to be essential to life now exceeds thirty, and some researchers believe that for optimum health we need to take in every substance found in the earth's crust. Along with familiar trace minerals, such as iron and iodine, the body also needs others less well known, like cobalt, germanium and boron."        by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD.

http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/mineralprimer.html

Dr. Mary Enig is a world-renowned biochemist and nutritionist best known for her pioneering research on healthy fats and oils, and her early protests against trans fats more than twenty-five years ago. A consultant and clinician, she is also the former contributing editor of the scientific journal Clinical Nutrition and a consulting editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dr. Enig received her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a member of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and president of the Maryland Nutritionists Association.

http://www.life-enthusiast.com/index/Articles/Enig

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

One of the first things we do at workshops here is to discuss ingredients: water, salt, yeast types, flour types.  A blind taste test on tap water, bottled water and spring water always has the same result: the spring water wins. A blind taste test on table salt, generic sea salt and gray sea salt from Brittany always has the same result: the Brittany salt wins.  Seems to me that if it tastes good independently then it will transfer that taste to our breads.  The effects might be subtle, sure, but why not given the ability to control them?

CJ

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Today it seems prudent to be aware of not only the taste of a product but the health aspects and origins of that product as well.

Jeff

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Thanks for all your comments.  First of all, there is no possible way I would ever use Fleur de Sel, either as a topping or in bread.  Far, far too expensive.  Instead, I use stone ground Sel Marin de Guerande that comes from Brittany and costs under $5 for 500 grams; that's a lot of loaves of bread.  We avoid iodized table salt, because it does have added chemicals to keep it in a dry, flowing state.  Still, I don't think gray sea salt is more "pure" than, say, kosher salt.  This is a very small part of the philosophy that when baking bread, which really only has four basic ingredients, the quality of those ingredients should be closely controlled/selected.  We don't use bleached flours, for example, although unbleached organic is a luxury.  By the same token, we don't use chlorinated tap water, mainly because of poor taste and our wild yeast starter does not do well with it.  As well, we avoid buying yeast (except, occasionally, cake) in supermarkets, because there is no best before date on the containers.  By preference, we use SAF IDY here; I find it the most consistent and predictable. There's a premium on it, sure, but bought in 500 gram bags, the cost differential is very small.

To sum up, over the years I've developed a list of ingredients that provides the most consistent, repeatable results.  Salt choice truly is a matter of taste, and it's a small component in our overall procedures.  Still, I always say if it tastes good on its own, it will make a subtle difference to the finished bread.  I guess it's not the individual ingredients but the combination that works for me.

CJ

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I've tried a couple different salts, and there just isn't enough salt in the bread to be noticeable in the finished product. I just use store brand non iodized. It is 50 cent for whatever size the container is (12 or 16 oz, I forget).