The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding salt in second speed

timpel_800's picture

Adding salt in second speed

Hi ya'll

I’ve got a question about salt. I once worked at a baker where we added 1/4 of the salt at the beginning of mixing, and the other 3/4 at the moment the mixer would go to second speed.

We used the intensive mixing methode and used a strong patent flour. After a three hour fermentation, the dough was divided and shaped (by hand), then, after a short final fermentation, baked. 

I was still a young fellow back then and just did what i was told, but now i’m thinking of it and i can’t quite figure out why we did this. Even the literature isn’t giving any answers.

Any toughts?


FoodFascist's picture

Yeah, I have a similar question with regards to sourdough. Many sourdough recipes say to mix everything apart from salt, let autolyse, then sprinkle with salt during the 1st stretch and fold. Why's this? Does salt interfere with autolysis? how different would results be if salt were added straight away?

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

When you use this mixing method, you add salt later for tow reasons.

1.  Letting the dough ingreedients mix before adding salt allows the yeast to spread throughout the dough, so when you add salt it won't have an adverse efect.

2. Dough development.  Add salt on second speed to really boost how the gluten is worked, the course texture  of salt does wonders at this. Eliminates any "need"(depends on opinion) of folding the dough.

timpel_800's picture

Asked my present boss, he lent me the book of prof. Calvel.

Calvel writes:


having understood salt's role as an antioxidant, too many bakerssince the 1960's have adopted the practice of delaying the addition of fine table salt - wich dissolves quickly - until 5 minutes befor the end of mixing. this is done with the intensive mixing method in order to encourage the maximum levens of oxidation and bleaching. this delayed salt method tends to facilitate the forming of gluten bonds during dough formatio and results in a slight improvement in dough strenght. however, there is also such a great decline in the quiality of the tast of bread produced by this methode that is might be considered a general disaster. this practise has the effect of "washing out" the dough. 

About you question:

i think, since salt is working the gluten, you don't want that in your autolysis. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Perhaps I'm blind to the finer details of gluten structure, perhaps I can't taste, but I'd be lying if I said I've ever actually noticed a difference, and I mix every which way: by hand and mixer, with and without autolyse, etc.

The one thing I do notice about salt is that, if I forget it, the result is shameful. Without salt, even breadcrumbs are a travesty.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

or even days in some case. how can a few minutes of delay in adding the salt effect the yeast?

Chuck's picture

My experience in my bread machine is the concentration of salt is what matters. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, the concentration of salt spread throughout a bread dough is so low the salt doesn't have a whole lot of effect on the yeast. But put things in the bread machine in the wrong order so the yeast is right next to 100% salt when the machine is first turned on, and the salt will kill so much of the yeast the bread doesn't rise right.

Likewise when I'm not using a bread machine, I put both dry yeast and salt into my flour and stir thoroughly and it works every time. The salt is so spread out it doesn't hurt the yeast hardly at all. But if I forget to "stir thoroughly", so the salt isn't spread out, the salt will harm whatever yeast is nearby.