The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

salt and yeast

slaughlin's picture

salt and yeast

Having been just totally blown away by SDbakers thread about the experience at SFBI, the one thing that jumped out at me is the salt/yeast interaction portion.  So what exactly is the issue with adding salt with yeast.  Should adding the salt be delayed after the autolyse?  Any explanation or help is appreciated.

Steve in Spearfish SD

ps. Whoever is near the thermostat please turn it down its 104 here today

mkelly27's picture

Here's how I understand and have observed salt in the dough.


Salt and instant yeast in a proofing bowl will fail.

salt added to a dry mix of flour,instant yeast, etc. before wet stuff is fine

autolyse should be without salt, just flour and water (no yeast either), yeast or starter is added to the autolysed flour first, the salt is then mixed in.  

It really does "tighten up" the mix and I think it is good advice to add it late in the process.


Don't be like me, and forget to add salt. with everything going on in my kitchen at that point it is very hard to remember if you added salt yet or not.  I am developing a set of signals in my kitchen to identify where I stand in the ingredient mixing program.  Anything not added to a recipe is on the left of the stove, anything already added goes to the right.  think about it. 


Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

SDbaker's picture

Mkelly is right on about autolyze.  When this topic came up here, are my notes:

 Autolyze is flour and water, no salt.  Maybe instant yeast.

This increases dough strength without mixing.

Salt increases flavor, regulates fermentation and is ideal around 1.8 - 2.0 % total flour weight, slows down the chemical reactions in the dough, slows down the oxidation of the dough when mixing, increases shelf life and moisture retention (beneficial in a dry climate). 

Hope this helps,

SD Baker

rcornwall's picture

Salt will allow the gluten to be more extensible. But salt will kill yeast if it is in direct contact with it. Thats why many bread recipes call for adding the yeast to the flour before adding the yeast. It gives the yeast a coating to protectit.