Other than flavor, is there a purpose for salt in a recipe that only calls for flour, yeast, water and salt?
To control leavening, and to tighten dough structure.
Without salt, fermentation can proceed too quickly to develop enable flavor development.
Salt also tightens the dough; without it it might become too flabby/extensible.
You have a nice summary of the purpose of salt here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/salt.html
There is at least one bread that is salt-free - Tuscan bread. You can google it to find out more.
Good link summary, thx for reminding me of this one.
without salt. Tuscan bread proves that. If you are on a salt restriction, look into Tuscan bread recipes.
Tuscan Bread recipe
Link to recipe of bread in above thread at King Arthur Flour (Tuscan Bread)
I am not on a salt restriction, but I hear it oxidizes and 'can be' harmful to yeast. I was just wondering.
Normally I put the salt in at the very last minute before kneading.
If you put the salt in last minute, how does it dissolve and get distributed??
I would think salt has to be added to some liquid (like water) for distribution.
the kneading distributes the salt.
I add my Salt after I mixed the flour and Water and a 50 minute Autolise.
I just add the Salt over the top of the dough and work it in by folding the Dough over itself a few times and if you knead than you will distribute the Salt just fine.
You could keep some of the Water and disovle the salt in to it and add it that way after the Autolise.
even in the King Arthur Flour link is that salt acts a preservative for the finished loaf. Tuscan bread is wonderful but it goes 'stale' super fast.
even though it does have salt, also goes stale really fast.
...make a French loaf with salt and make one without. Test for freshness.