The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Why add salt in sweet bread (or quick bread)?

bottleny's picture

Why add salt in sweet bread (or quick bread)?

Especially in quick bread recipes. What's the purpose of adding a small amount of salt in the dough, when the leavening is due to baking podwer or baking soda?

JMonkey's picture

The contrast of the salt actually enhances the sweet flavor of sugar. Try this experiment. Get two glasses of water and, to each, add a teaspoon of sugar. Then, add a bit of salt to one of the glasses.

Though it seems counterintuitive, the glass with the bit of salt in it actually tastes sweeter.

carltonb's picture

It is almost this exact scenario that made me go to culinary school. While doing my pastry apprenticeship back in the late 60's my German pastry chef aka Hans the task master always put salt in his buttercream formulas. When asked why he said that he always did it and it was done in his family for over 100 years. Hans was a 5th generation baker.

Well any way I needed to find out. The only books that I found about the topic were written in German or French, and my own grandfather a 3rd generation baker who said the same thing as Hans told me to go to school to find out.

So I got a degree from a major culinary school in the early 70's and then in latter years attended the American Institute of Baking in Kansas.

It all boils down to taste. Our tongue has different taste receptors. Salt happens to enhance those receptors that determine sweetness.

That is why in the US you would not want to drink certain beers, carbonated beverages, wines with BBQ sauces. Vinegar based sauces and those of other bases will make certain beverages taste pretty bad.

In your formulas you might makie the item without salt but be prepared for certain consequences of poor taste and possible levening problems. Even the littlest amount of salt will cause some type of reactions.

Hope that this helps.

Carlton Brooks CEPC, CCE
Mesa, Arizona