Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do I Really Need the Salt in My Baked Goods?

A salt mill for sea salt. It is fairly common to find salt in recipes for baked goods. Usually this is a small amount – ½ teaspoon or one teaspoon – but not everyone wants that extra salt.

The question is – if you’re baking allergen-free, do you really need the salt?

Salt actually provides more than one purpose when baking.

The first reason to use salt is for flavor. If you put two cookies side by side – one made with salt in the recipe and the other without – and do a taste test, you shouldn’t taste salt (it’s a cookie after all) but you may notice a slight difference in texture. It’s very subtle.

The second reason is that in traditional baked goods, salt increases the strengthening of the gluten. Of course, if you are baking without wheat, this is no longer a concern.

The most important reason to use salt is when you are using yeast, in breads or other rising doughs. The salt affects the rate at which the dough will rise; without salt it will rise faster, and could create air pockets.

Lastly, salt is a preservative. If you’re baked goods disappear within a couple days this shouldn’t be a concern, but if you want your muffins to last all week, adding a bit of salt is a good idea.

I generally do add a small amount of salt to my allergen-free recipes for baked goods. What about you?


Allergy Mum said...

Interesting Info.
Allergy Mum -

Anonymous said...

I don't use salt. In fact the only salt in my kitchen is rock salt used to freeze ice cream. I have been cooking low sodium for many years and don't really notice any difference, but I suppose you get used to it. I use a lot of herbs and spices in my cooking for flavor, but in baking just leave it out.

Colette said...

Allergy Mum -- glad it was helpful.

Rogene, I think we do get used to it -- either having it or not having it.

Blair said...

I'm going to try no salt in my next loaf of bread. Thanks for the information.

Buy PGX said...

Try other alternatives which can add flavor to your baked goods.