The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A question of salinity...

SoulDreamer's picture
SoulDreamer

A question of salinity...

There is a simple question that I have seen answered with two contradictory answers.  I am bringing it up hoping to settle the question once and for all. 

The question is: What does ‘a dough’s salt content’ actually mean?

The two contradictory answers I have seen are:

  1. The correct meaning of ‘a dough’s salt content’ is the weight of the salt divided by the total amount of flour in a dough, including the flour in any pre-ferments.
  2. The correct meaning of ‘a dough’s salt content’ is the weight of the salt divided by the amount of flour added in the final mix of the dough, ie excluding the flour in any pre-ferments.

So, by example:

                Pre-Ferment     Mix     TOTAL

Flour:       51g                   512g       563g

Water:     51g                   371g       423g                  

Salt:         0g                     14g         14g

TOTAL:    102g                 898g     1000g

  • If the proponents of answer #1 are correct, the salt content is 2.5% (14/563).
  • If the proponents of answer #2 are correct, the salt content is 2.7% (14/512)

To me, #1 wold be a more useful standard practice, because it gives a clear indication of the overall salinity. i recently read an excellent discussion topic on a bread where the pre-ferment, in the form of a biga, was a whopping 90%. If #1 is correct, the salt content of that bread shound still be stated as ~2%, but if #2 is correct, the salt content would be 20-30%, because the flour in the final mix is so little. That sounds unintuitive to me.

I’m clearly hoping #1 is correct, but naturally I will comply with whatever the correct usage turns out to be.

thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

albacore's picture
albacore

No. 1, of course. No. 2 is a bit like one of the Tartine books, when Chad Robertson got all his dough hydrations wrong because he forgot to account for the levain flour and water in the total mix. (Worrying for a pro baker!)

BTW, maybe it's just an example, but 2.5% is a high salt content - OK for pizza, but not the healthiest for bread - try 1.8%

Lance

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

on the store shelf that weighs 1kilo.  What about the weight of the salt divided by the total finished loaf weight?  

The % will be lower than the salt to flour content.  Is this the salt content the regulators are asking for?  1.4%? Or slightly higher due to water loss while baking?

albacore's picture
albacore

Well Mini, since we are often baking for ourselves, I guess it's a often a question of what salt content are you looking for? As always, I point towards this Weekend Bakery article for an overview of the modern view of salt levels.

I am currently on 1.7% and happy with it, but wouldn't like to go lower.

Lance

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I agree and often use 1.7% up to 2% with potato and squash bread.  

Hang on to that link as it will come handy for defending the salt to flour content.  A clash of misunderstanding is bound to happen.   Consumers and regulators and labels will look at the overall salt content which includes the water.  Those who bake are figuring from the other end of the process using the salt to flour amount.