The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fine sea salt vs. kosher salt

psedillo's picture
psedillo

Fine sea salt vs. kosher salt

I’ve seen several bread recipes call for one or the other. I’m sure there is a reason and would appreciate any and all insight. 

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

Need to be careful when a recipe calls out kosher salt by volume, especially if you are scaling it up. The volumes are not interchangeable. Kosher salt has larger irregular grains vs table salt which is much smaller granules. Think of filling a jar with sand versus marbles. Same volume in each jar, but there is less air the sand-filled jar than in the marble jar. I believe the general rule of thumb is that you need half the volume of table salt if the recipe calls for kosher salt. 

With cooking, salting to taste is really the best approach. 

With bread baking, going by weight is the best approach. If it doesn't specify a weight, generally going with a 2% salt content is a good start. If recipe calls for 900g of flour... 2% would be 18g salt. 

Also, I prefer the tactile feel of kosher salt. Table salt just feels like a pain to sprinkle about. 

psedillo's picture
psedillo

Thank you for sharing that with me, it's good to know.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

I don't think the type of salt matters per se.. I think it's about the size of the salt crystal / flake and it's ability to properly get evenly distributed into your dough based on how you make it.. I use fine sea salt for my bakes, but have a small marble mortar and pestle that I've had for decades.. I now use it exclusively to grind down my salt (even fine sea salt) into a fine powder before adding to my dough.. I measure it out, grind it for less than a minute and add it to the dough when it's time.. I started using the mortar because I had a bunch of kosher salt in my pantry forever and I never used it.. and thought this would be a good way to use it up.. it was and I didn't notice any difference to my bread.. the fact I now run my sea salt through it, is more just about a practice I've developed.. my thinking is that salt as a fine powder will get better distributed into the dough when I mix (even if the sea salt is seemingly fine, once ground it really is like a powder).. and it takes me under a minute to do.. 

psedillo's picture
psedillo

I appreciate you sharing that insight regarding salt.

he absorption factor is something that got me thinking about the possibilities of there being a difference between fine sea salt and kosher. Interesting idea regarding how you grind down fine sea salt to get an even finer grain. I'm going to give this a try on my next bake.

Thank you again for providing your thoughts.

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

Don't mean this to sound offensive, but simply offering some background to avoid overthinking this. And there's nothing wrong with crushing your own salt. At the end of the day, salt you taste (NaCl) is the same whether its iodized, crushed, or kosher, etc. The other minerals found in salts from locations around the world can offer something else in terms of flavors. 

Taking a step outside of bread making for a second. The smaller crystals of table salt are actually much more dense than the larger, flat kosher salt variety (again why volume comparisons cannot be substituted 1 for 1). This means that less dense kosher salt grains dissolve much faster than table salt, and actually draw out moisture faster. 

For some perspective tho, it's not like you are sprinkling 20g of salt within minutes before you load your dough into the bake. The amount of time it takes to ferment and mix your dough is plenty enough to distribute the salt (whichever you use) throughout the dough. 

Salt is important in baking bread not only for flavor, but helping to "move moisture" as the gluten develops. It really comes down to the % of salt needed to allow sufficient hydration without inhibiting fermentation. All things the same, too little salt, and the gluten will take longer to develop. Too much salt, aside from affecting taste, will slow fermentation and your dough won't rise.

psedillo's picture
psedillo

Good data points for sure and you're right it's not something to overthink. Your last two paragraphs capture what I was wondering.

At the end of the day my goal was to achieve good salt distribution, you've helped to clarify what I've been considering.