The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Salt Substitute?

doughooker's picture
doughooker

Salt Substitute?

Doctor (a nephrologist) says no more salt. It's bad for the kidneys.

I use salt substitute on popcorn (potassium chloride — no sodium) and it's great! You can't tell the difference between it and regular salt.

I have not tried baking with salt substitute but was wondering if anyone reading this has. What were your impressions? How was the flavor? What quantities were used relative to regular salt? Did it affect gluten development?

Thank you.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

A thesis for you on this very subject. 

doughooker's picture
doughooker

Interesting paper.

Thanks for that.

She only tested 25% and 50% replacement of salt with KCl. The 50% replacement was on par with the control, per Table V of the study.

mariana's picture
mariana

I am eating as salt free as humanly possible myself, I don't even use salt substitite, because I dislike its metallic taste.

However,  I discovered  that in baking wheat bread and buns there are some great recipes available both for salt free plain breads and salt free enriched breads, as rich as pannetone. They are super tasty by themselves or could be made into sandwiches with acidic/lemony or spicy spreads. I tested those recipes out of curiosity and they do make perfect bread with perfect looks, taste and flavor. 

Traditionally, dark rye breads were baked without salt for hundreds  of years, their acidic taste doesn't really require salt for taste that much. That said, I dislike salt free sourdough rye from our neigbourhood bakery. It tastes somewhat watery and sharply acidic.

Homemade salt free sourdough rye  is much  better tasting.

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

Hello, retired nurse here. Your post made me curious. Its not uncommon for doctors to advise patients to reduce their sodium intake, for a variety of reasons. In general, historically that meant to not add salt to cooked foods (i.e. no more salt shaker at the table), avoid cooking with salt, and avoid high sodium foods like pretzels, ham, and what have you. I never saw that bread might be considered a high sodium food that should be avoided. Perhaps that has changed?

Doctors and nutritionists often recommend their patients eat more whole grains (including many cereal grains, whole grain bread, etc.). When you put those 2 recommendations side by side, things get..... confusing. 

You might ask your doctor (and maybe a nutritionist) what the current recommendations are regarding bread in general (as relates to cutting sodium) and multigrain sourdough in particular. It's not often doctors have patients who want to make their own bread, and they may have some really helpful advice for you. 

(Note, this is not intended as medical advice nor am I attempting to undermine or contradict your doctor's advice. Most definitely do whatever he/she says, while you look into it all further and get their specific recommendation.)

One last thought.... You can calculate how much sodium you get per slice of the bread you make, by dividing the amount of salt in your recipe by the number of slices you usually get per loaf. (The side of your salt packaging likely lists how many mg of sodium there are per gm of salt...) That might be helpful info as you dive into this? 

Good luck!

doughooker's picture
doughooker

I use a salt substitute called "No Salt". I know what you mean by "metallic taste" and No Salt had it years ago. Now it is made by French's (the mustard/condiment company) and the metallic taste is all gone! Also, I used to find it in my supermarket but now I have to order it from amazon.

A nephrologist is a kidney doctor and I asked mine what I could do to help keep my kidneys healthy and his one-word response was "salt". That made an impression on me. I would rather have healthy kidneys than tasty bread. I know salt is de rigueur in bread baking but I never thought bread was that salty.

I do enjoy unsalted soda crackers. I checked the nutrition label and there didn't seem to be a lot of sodium in them. I know sodium is an essential nutrient but figure I'll pick up enough sodium through other foods.

I also enjoy buttermilk biscuits which are usually leavened with baking soda, another source of sodium to avoid.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Hello doughooker,

I am also interested in sodium reduction in my diet. I have always tried to choose commercial breads that have lower sodium levels. My quick rule-of-thumb for acceptability was 1 mg Na/calorie on the nutrition label. When I started making my own breads last year, I found that most recipes far exceeded this guideline. I posted the following question on the forum in December:

Effect of salt in bread baking 66566

What was discussed and I also found in the literature was that salt content can be dramatically lowered without affecting the performance of the dough. Salt primarily acts through its ionic nature on yeast and on gluten, but other ions will exert the same effect. I have been replacing about half the table salt with Morton's Lite Salt and reducing the total salts content in recipes without any ill effects.

The most intriguing paper in the thread is replacement of half the sodium chloride with calcium chloride and calcium carbonate. I have not yet tried it, but I do have both salts from a brewing supply house. I tasted a small amount of the CaCl2 and I did not think it was as metallic as KCl.

I would be happy to discuss this further.

 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

I forgot to mention that reduced sodium baking powder is available (Rumford). You can also try potassium bicarbonate for your soda breads. It may also have a slightly bitter taste compared with baking soda. The KHCO3 can be obtained from brewing supply stores or Amazon. King Arthur Baking also has ammonium carbonate (or Baker's Ammonia) for sale.

I have used the KHCO3 to replace some of the baking soda in muffins and did not notice any difference.

I haven't tried to use only KCl in yeast breads.

 

aroma's picture
aroma

I have used LoSalt in my sourdough for years and just 1% by weight at that. I've never had a problem with the bread and there's no doubt that you get used to the taste of less salt quickly.  There are no disadvantages for me.

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

The things you learn on this site....

So yes indeedy, bread is now considered a source of sodium worth being cautious about. I think my past experience in hospital based nursing skewed my perspective. We were often just happy to have people eat anything on their road to recovery. Ham was clearly out, but bread/toast were acceptable. Hubby and I eat a lot of fresh foods, but we do get more sodium in than is recommended. I think I will start exploring salt substitutes, in baking as well as other. Any reduction is not a bad thing. Thanks for the thread and input! That article Abe supplied a link to is especially helpful. 

doughooker's picture
doughooker

"I have used LoSalt in my sourdough for years"

Do you mean "No Salt"? That's an actual product. I've never heard of "LoSalt".

alcophile's picture
alcophile

LoSalt is from the UK, but is available in the US. Amazon has it and I think most Whole Foods. I have not tried it.

Another salt substitute I've tried is mySalt from Washington state. I bought some and it is not bad, but a little coarse. It has lysine added to mask the bitterness of the KCl. I don't think I'll try that in baking as I don't know what effect the lysine will have on yeast and gluten.

I purchased some No Salt on your recommendation and found that is is better than Nu-Salt. Have you used No Salt in bread making?

Concerning the previous posts, did you have a chance to look at any of the discussion found in Forum post 66566? The Cargill website summary is probably the best I have seen on the effect of salt in bread dough:

Cargill Effect of Salt in Bread Dough

I hope that helps.

 

 

doughooker's picture
doughooker

I purchased some No Salt on your recommendation and found that is is better than Nu-Salt. Have you used No Salt in bread making?

I made some biscuits with No Salt and they were disappointing — one reason I started this thread. I don't know if I needed to use more No Salt than I did. They turned out quite bland.

One problem with biscuits is that they are usually leavened with baking soda, which is more sodium.

I'm glad you like No Salt.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Have you tried potassium bicarbonate in your biscuits? I have made muffins with partial substitution (about half) of the baking soda with potassium bicarbonate. An independent taster and I could not tell the difference. I've purchased the potassium bicarbonate from brewing supply stores and from Amazon.

Are you aware of Hain Pure Foods Featherweight Baking Powder? It contains only potassium salts. I have not used it but I have used the Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powder with no noticeable difference.