Salt - don't ever forget this ingredient.  I highlight this for good reason.  Salt seems like just a standard ingredient, but it is amazing how this one item affects the outcome of a loaf of bread for both good or ill.  

 

See the All about Salt page for additional information on how salt affects the outcome of bread.

 

 

 

 

Salt - Bread Science

Photo Credit OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

Salt :

  • Adds flavor.

  • Helps control the rise.  Salt actually slows down the rise and works with yeast to control the timing and flavor of the bread.

  • Helps crust color.

  • Helps tighten and strengthen gluten.

  • Is vital to making great bread.  

 

Does the type of salt matter?  Yes and no - it depends on whether you are a purist or not, but high quality salt is important when baking bread.  In a pinch, use what you have, but try to find good salt.  Your bread will appreciate it.  I like to use Real Salt, strait from the ancient sea beds of central Utah.  

 

What type of salt should you use?

  • Table Salt - Standard table salt works just fine for most breads.  Basic bread recipes will work fine with table salt.

  • Iodized Salt - Iodine is added to this salt to encourage the consumption of iodine.  Back in the day, it appears the government asked salt manufaturers to add iodine to salt to help the population increase their intake of iodine which helps keep the thyroid healthy.  Nowdays, we have many more sources of iodine.  Idodized salt works fine for bread, but is certainly not necessary. 

  • Kosher Salt -  This salt has larger crystals and is a favorite of many chefs for it's milder flavor.  Kosher salt isn't called Kosher because of how the salt is processed, but rather because it is used in the processing of Kosher meats.  If you use kosher salt for bread, you won't have Kosher bread - but it's an excellent choice for making great breads.

  • Sea Salt - There are many types of sea salt.  As the name implies, the salt comes from the sea, processed in a variety of ways.  From standard sea salt to Celtic sea salt to fleur de sel, sea salt almost always has a more robust/pure taste - and makes great bread.

  • Ancient Sea Salt - I mentioned Real Salt above.  This and other ancient salts like Himalayan salt are mined from ancient sea beds, dried long ago and buried deep benieath the earth.  Using Real Salt as an example of healthy, nutritious salt - as the Real Salt web page explains - "Real Salt® brand sea salt comes from an ancient sea bed in Central Utah, where for more than 30 years we've delivered completely natural sea salt -- nothing added, nothing taken away. That means you get more than 60 trace minerals in a delicious, healthy salt that is never chemically treated, bleached, or kiln dried.  So ancient sea salts are completely natural, healthy and have a wonderful taste.

  • Himalayan Salt - Sometimes called Himalayan Pink Salt, this salt is basically fossilized sea salt. The salt is pink because of the minerals in contains, particularly iron. Sea salts, and specifically certain types of sea salt are more expensive, but are also more pure than processed table or iodized salt.  If you are purist, Himalayan salt is a great choice.

  • Flavored Salt - Garlic salt, seasoned salt, onion salt, rosemary lemon salt - almost any flavor you can dream up can be combined with salt.  These and so many other flavored salts that come off the shelf or that are self-made can be fun to use when making bread.  Obviously used more for the flavor, these types of salts are fun to use when baking your favorite breads.  Use garlic salt for a garlic-herb bread or a rosemary salt for a sourdough.  There is even a Fleur de Hell artisan salt from The Meadow that would certainly increase the heat in a loaf of bread.  Have fun with these salts.  You're bound to find something you like.

  • Gourmet Salt - Grey sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Fleur de sel (the rolls royce of salts), Hawaiian Black sea salt or other artisan salts - all cost more, but what a fun way to experiment with high-grade, pure salts.  These types of salts wouldn't normally be used in baking bread, but salts of this type would work well in most bread recipes.  

 

 

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