The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Salt in bread

RDavidP's picture

Salt in bread

I bake most of my bread from the "Bread Alone" book, with a couple here and there from Laurel's Kitchen. Typically the Bread Alone recipes call for a tablespoon of salt for two loaves. Has anyone tried using less salt and still get good results? I have never had anyone complain about the breads being too salty.

susanfnp's picture

Hi and welcome!

Typically salt will be about 2% by weight of the total flour in the dough. Salt is not for flavor only. It controls the rate of fermentation (more salt -> slower fermentation), the dough characteristics (makes the dough more elastic and less sticky), and affects the shelf life of the bread (how depends on what kind of a climate you live in).

If you want to try using less salt, my suggestion is to make the bread using the original recipe first, then vary the amount of salt and see how it affects your results. Just be aware that if you use less, expect the dough to ferment more quickly, and plan accordingly!



TRK's picture

I usually reduce the salt in bread recipes a little, but don't measure precisely.  Lean breads benefit from plenty of salt flavor, IMO, but scaling back a little in enriched breads (I usually make about 3/4 whole wheat loaves with egg and butter for richness).  I can't be more specific than "a little" because I kind of eyeball it, aiming for a little less than the recipe calls for.


This reminds me of a funny story from when I lived in a co-op as a student.  Somebody baked bread every week day (it was one of the options for a house job-baking for 40 once a week).  That was where I first learned to bake bread.  Anyway, there was one guy who believed that the bread was chronically undersalted.  During finals, when you could sign up to do a job once, rather than for a full quarter, he wanted to try his hand.  He made the bread so salty it barely rose, and was completely inedible.  We called it the Dead Sea Bread.  I don't think he complained about the undersalted bread after that.

verminiusrex's picture

Within reason (and probably depending on the kind of bread you are baking) there is flexibility in salt content.  I made two batches of Alton Brown's Very Basic bread (my default recipe) with whole wheat for the preferment.  One loaf I did half the salt.  The difference was 1 teaspoon vs 2 teaspoons for a pound of flour.  The people I gave bread to for a taste test didn't really see a difference in taste.  I do know that if you grow up in a low salt household (like two other friends of mine) then a normal amount of salt can be "too salty". 

 I of course told them that it isn't too salty, it's "too savory", because that sounds more like a culinary term.

I think that the amount of dough you make may also have an impact, when I increase the same recipe by 50% including the salt, I swear that it tastes just a little saltier...excuse me, more savory. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The way to comment or say the food is too salty, 'cause, well, the only acceptable excuse for not paying attention to the obvious.  ...So the cook is in love.  :)    --Mini Oven

dwg302's picture

i was suprised how much salt adds to the flavor of the bread.   anyone who has forgotten to add the salt to the dough will never forget again.   your bread will have as much taste as a piece of paper.   


Paddyscake's picture

never again! It was awful