The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding salt to a finished dough

soleilnyc's picture

Adding salt to a finished dough

I've just mixed up a batch of WW Healthy Bread in Five, a double batch with starter instead of yeast.  For all the problems I've had with my rather sluggish starter, this time, he overdelivered! The bread rose to about triple, dumping dollops of dough all over the kitchen floor. I was so happy and excited to bake up this bread.

But when I did, I realized that perhaps the reason why Grover was so industrious was because I didn't put enough salt in.  The bread, though having gorgeous texture and flavor, was bland.

So anyone know how I can fix the rest of the 8 qts of dough sitting in my fridge?  Should I mix some in now and hope that the bread will rise again? Or should I just content myself with salting the crust or passing the shaker with the bread basket?

I'd love to hear if you can do it to a traditional dough as well.


Chausiubao's picture

This is like adding salt to a dough that you autolyse.

Make a salt paste.

I like to mix some water with the salt to dissolve it (otherwise, salt's abbrasive nature will destroy your gluten network), then add flour to adjust it to a consistency that can be kneaded in.

This consistency is usually at or wetter then the dough you are mixing it into. 


dghdctr's picture

 . . . then you might want to start with an amount of salt equal to 2% of the weight of the flour (including any flour contributed by the starter).  Anything from 1.8% up to maybe 2.2% is a normal range, but 2% is the most common these days.  So 1000g of flour typically gets 20g of salt.

Or, you can check the proportion of teaspoons of table salt to the weight of flour from a trusted source like Hamelman, and design your dough from there.  If you guess at it without any reference point, your results may not be predictable.

Also -- teaspoons of salt listed in an author's formula generally assume that you're using fine-grained salt.  You can certainly use larger crystals for dough if you wish, but because they are larger than normal, they aren't really a one-for-one exchange with a fine grain salt measured with spoons.  They occupy more space in the spoon's cavity than do finer crystals, so a volume measurement of coarse grains based on that measurement with fine grains wouldn't be accurate.

Additionally, larger salt crystals might not dissolve completely in your dough unless they are dissolved in the formula water first.  In some cases the large crystals might dissolve on their own, but sometimes they don't.

Good luck next time.

--Dan DiMuzio

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I'd just bake it up as Tuscan bread. Then eat it with olives, anchovies, or parmesan... you won't miss the salt! :)

(If I had a nickle for every time I've forgotten the salt... well, I'd have like $0.35 or so.)

yozzause's picture

I beleve it will be hard to get the salt into the dough with out fear of overmixing which will give a poor result too, but the last suggestion of adding olives and perhaps sundried tomatoes feta cheese etc will carry some saltiness to the bread.

I would roll the dough out thin, cover 2/3rds with selected goodies ,flap over the bare 1/3 press dowd hard flap over again so you will have a layer of dough a layer of tastys,dough, tastys, dough you can even turn 90 dgrees and fold again. Should have good incorporation , i would keep the loaf fairly flat rather than rounding up as you will have greater crust area which you can give a salt wash to or even sprinkle salt cyrstals onto . you should end up with a tasty slice.

you can also retain some of the dough and use as a bigga in subsequent doughs.

good luck good baking regards Yozza 

flournwater's picture

Once you've decided how much total salt you'll need to achieve a 1.5 - 2 percent salt content, divide your large quantity of dough into segments, the divide the total amount of salt by the number of segments and work it in as dchdctr suggested.  It'll be easier to work the salt into smaller portions of the dough than attacking it all at once.

I'm not as lucky at MattH; I'd have about $0.55

soleilnyc's picture

Thanks for all the great suggestions! MattH and flournwater, you crack me up!!

I did have a slice with some Gorgonzola Dolce tonight and it was tasty, so I think you're right, serving it with some salties will make up for my flub. 

Yozza, thanks for the detailed tips on incorporating good bits, I'll give it a try tomorrow with some sundried tomatoes!

Dan and Charsiubao (that just made me hungry!), I'll bake up a bun with a saltwater solution and let you know how that worked out.

I love this forum, I always get the help I need! :)


Current Nickel Count: $0.05

Aprea's picture

Funny thing - this happened to me for the first time the other day.  I had 2 10 pound batches of SF sourdough with 25% whole wheat flour.  I forgot to add salt to the second batch.  When cleaning up, I saw the premeasured salt on the counter - and quickly tasted to see which batch was missing the salt.  I threw it back into the DLX, mixed it for around 3-4 minutes.  I have to tell you - although the crumb was bland - the crust had some salt - It reminded me of a big soft pretzel.  However the crumb was much airier - soft, chewy - .  It is making me rethink the dough development practices that I use.  The batch that had the salt added according to my recipe did not have as great of a texture as the batch in error.  I am going to have to incorporate a true autolyze in the future.




soleilnyc's picture

But even after adding salt, it was still bland?

Would this mean you have to compensate by upping the percentage of salt after the autolyse?

yozzause's picture

Sometimes if salt has been added late in the mixing process the bread will show dark spots on the crust, sort of a speckled effect from where the salt hasn't fully dissolved giving high loacalised concentrations. 

Aprea's picture

But the crust was notably lighter and crisper.