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Function of salt in bread recipe?
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LSDave



Joined: 22 Nov 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:00 pm    Post subject: Function of salt in bread recipe? Reply with quote

I’m trying to make some low/no sodium breads. (Just got a bread maker)

I have a few recipe for low/no sodium breads that I’ll try first, but I’m wondering if I can modify standard recipes by simply substituting potassium salt (potassium chloride) for the regular salt (Sodium chloride).

It seems to me that the salt serves two or three purposes.

1) Flavor; I don’t taste a difference between the potassium and sodium salts, so this is OK.
2) Preservation; I can always put it in the fridge or freezer. But does anyone know if potassium salt has any preservative properties?
3) Now here’s were I’m not sure, does anyone know if yeast needs sodium to do it’s thing? If so, does it need the concentrated sodium in the salt, or would the natural sodium in milk & eggs be enough? And although I doubt it. do the yeast create/excrete/concentrate sodium, (it’s been many years since my last biology class).

Any help, insights or pointers to information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know salt is not beneficial for yeast, if anything it inhibits their activity.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience, the salt is there to provide flavor. I (more often than I should) forget the salt sometimes and it bread is well formed (but unpalatable).
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The salt does, as SirShazar said, inhibit yeast activity, and that is its purpose in bread dough. The amount you use controls the fermentation of sugars by the yeast so the dough doesn't rise too fast or form irregular or very large air pockets. It also toughens the gluten which prevents large air pockets from forming and adds to the texture of the bread. It also obviously adds flavor.

Boy, I never thought organic chemistry would taste so good when I took it in college!
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dscheidt



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:18 am    Post subject: Re: Function of salt in bread recipe? Reply with quote

LSDave wrote:
Iím trying to make some low/no sodium breads. (Just got a bread maker)

I have a few recipe for low/no sodium breads that Iíll try first, but Iím wondering if I can modify standard recipes by simply substituting potassium salt (potassium chloride) for the regular salt (Sodium chloride).


Try it. The worst that happens is you make some bread that you have to feed to the ducks.

Salt isn't present in most bread to be a preservative, I shouldn't think. What salt does do in the quantities it's present is:

1) provide flavor. I have zero experience with salt substitutes, so I don't have any idea how they'll work for this.

2) it modestly reduces the speed of rising, by reducing the action of the yeast. This might be a problem in a bread machine, if you're using timed cycles.

3) It strengthens gluten. This isn't a huge issue for most breads.

Depending on the bread style your trying to make, and how it's going to be eaten, I'd first try making them with no salt (or greatly reduced, if you can afford some salt in your diet.) This won't work well for tings like baguettes, but for breads where there is some other flavor source, it may. (I've made my basic white loaf bread with no salt on accident, and it's okay. A little flat, but in a sandwich, it's not so bad.
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Go Gary Go Reply with quote

I agree with GaryProtein: salt is used to control yeast activity. Bread recipies balance yeast with salt. Salt should be approximately 2% of the recipe. Without the salt, the yeast productivity would be uncontrolled and the yeast could exhaust themselves prior to providing the flavor and levening we desire. Therefore, it is essential to bread baking. According to Mrs. Beranbaum, salt also strengthens gluten, providing better structure to bread. Plus, it tastes darn good.

The amount of salt in homemade bread is small, but essential. If you're looking to limit salt in your diet, I'd suggest reducing it in goodies other than bread.
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dscheidt



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:42 am    Post subject: Re: Go Gary Go Reply with quote

Thor wrote:
I agree with GaryProtein: salt is used to control yeast activity. Bread recipies balance yeast with salt. Salt should be approximately 2% of the recipe. Without the salt, the yeast productivity would be uncontrolled and the yeast could exhaust themselves prior to providing the flavor and levening we desire. Therefore, it is essential to bread baking. According to Mrs. Beranbaum, salt also strengthens gluten, providing better structure to bread. Plus, it tastes darn good.

The amount of salt in homemade bread is small, but essential. If you're looking to limit salt in your diet, I'd suggest reducing it in goodies other than bread.


Modern yeast is remarkably tolerant of osmotic pressure from salt solutions. It's far more effective and reliable to control yeast activity by reducing initial pitching rates, and by reducing temperature of the fermenting dough.
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:08 am    Post subject: A More Sober Entry Reply with quote

Quote:
Modern yeast is remarkably tolerant of osmotic pressure from salt solutions. It's far more effective and reliable to control yeast activity by reducing initial pitching rates, and by reducing temperature of the fermenting dough.


Agree with reducing fermentation temps, but I'm not sure how that would fit into the bread machine process.

Initial pitching rates?? Quesque c'est??

And if LSDave's rising dough blows the lid off of his maker, he could reduce the amount of yeast in subsequent baking attempts.

Quote:
Depending on the bread style your trying to make, and how it's going to be eaten, I'd first try making them with no salt (or greatly reduced, if you can afford some salt in your diet.) This won't work well for tings like baguettes, but for breads where there is some other flavor source, it may. (I've made my basic white loaf bread with no salt on accident, and it's okay. A little flat, but in a sandwich, it's not so bad.


Also agree. But to clarify: lean breads made simply of flour, water, yeast and salt will not likely fair very well without salt; enriched breads made yummy by fats, sugars, dairy, or chicken embryos may be more forgiving with a lesser amount (or maybe none, or maybe a substitute) of salt. I like the idea of trying an enriched bread without salt, or with a salt substitute to see what happens.

Quote:
Iím trying to make some low/no sodium breads.


I've not spent much time concentrating on my sodium intake. Is about a teaspoon of table salt in a loaf of bread a lot??
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dscheidt



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:18 am    Post subject: Re: A More Sober Entry Reply with quote

Thor wrote:
Quote:
Modern yeast is remarkably tolerant of osmotic pressure from salt solutions. It's far more effective and reliable to control yeast activity by reducing initial pitching rates, and by reducing temperature of the fermenting dough.


Agree with reducing fermentation temps, but I'm not sure how that would fit into the bread machine process.

Initial pitching rates?? Quesque c'est??

Sorry. It's a beer brewing term. It's the amount of yeast you start with. If you start with a low amount of yeast, it will take longer for it to rise.

In beer brewing, getting the amount of yeast right is much more critical than it is with bread. Yeast require oxygen to make the lipids in their cell walls when they divide. Beer is an anaerobic environment once fermentation has started (the CO2 bubbles scrub out any dissolved O2 quite quickly), so the only oxygen the yeast have is what they start with. if you don't have enough yeast, or they're not vigorous enough, the fermentation stalls. Bread dough is aerobic, so there are fewer constraints on their growth.

To prove that point, I recently used 5 grams of IDY to raise 5kg of bread flour. I went through a three stage starter, starting with 100 grams of flour, and doubling each time.
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skramy



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only problem I have experienced leaving salt out of bread is it rises so fast because salt inhibits the leavening action and flavors don't develop as well. Since my husband is on a low sodium diet, I have played around and found that making a biga (yeast starter) at least one day ahead solves this problem. You also could refrigerate the dough to slow the rise. I would not add a salt substitute. Replace the salt flavoring with herbs or spices, or make an onion bread, for instance. Adding vital wheat gluten with vitamin C to your recipe will help with keeping your bread fresh.
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The Yakima Kid



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Go Gary Go Reply with quote

dscheidt wrote:
Thor wrote:
I agree with GaryProtein: salt is used to control yeast activity. Bread recipies balance yeast with salt. Salt should be approximately 2% of the recipe. Without the salt, the yeast productivity would be uncontrolled and the yeast could exhaust themselves prior to providing the flavor and levening we desire. Therefore, it is essential to bread baking. According to Mrs. Beranbaum, salt also strengthens gluten, providing better structure to bread. Plus, it tastes darn good.

The amount of salt in homemade bread is small, but essential. If you're looking to limit salt in your diet, I'd suggest reducing it in goodies other than bread.


Modern yeast is remarkably tolerant of osmotic pressure from salt solutions. It's far more effective and reliable to control yeast activity by reducing initial pitching rates, and by reducing temperature of the fermenting dough.



Increasing sugar can also inhibit the rate of fermentation, which is why sweet bread recipes call for lower levels of salt.

Salt inhibits proteases and contributes to the firming of gluten while reducing the water holding capacity of dough. Salt also favors the action of amylases and helps to maintain a supply of maltose as food for the yeast. Without salt, doughs are sticky and hard to handle, and the weakened gluten fibers permit gas cells to overexpand during proofing; further expansion and rupture of the gas cells during baking give the bread a "flat crumb" and a moth-eaten appearance. A risk with prolonged fermentation is that if the flour is one that yields weak gluten it will yield weak cells as it will not be able to withstand the stress over time.

If temperatures are sufficiently low during proofing, the yeast cells may exhaust the nutrients in the immediate vicinity and die; the dead yeast cells may impart an off taste. One of the functions of punching dough down between rises is that it replenishes nutrients to the yeast by redistribution.
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The Yakima Kid



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: A More Sober Entry Reply with quote

dscheidt wrote:

In beer brewing, getting the amount of yeast right is much more critical than it is with bread. Yeast require oxygen to make the lipids in their cell walls when they divide. Beer is an anaerobic environment once fermentation has started (the CO2 bubbles scrub out any dissolved O2 quite quickly), so the only oxygen the yeast have is what they start with. if you don't have enough yeast, or they're not vigorous enough, the fermentation stalls. Bread dough is aerobic, so there are fewer constraints on their growth.



The environment in dough during proofing is considered to be more anaerobic than aerobic.
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:10 am    Post subject: Sweet Stuff Reply with quote

Quote:
Increasing sugar can also inhibit the rate of fermentation, which is why sweet bread recipes call for lower levels of salt.

Salt inhibits proteases and contributes to the firming of gluten while reducing the water holding capacity of dough. Salt also favors the action of amylases and helps to maintain a supply of maltose as food for the yeast


And maltose is a simpler sugar than sucrose and hence, a more efficient food source for yeast??? And why malted barley flour is added to many readily available flours?? Some recipes add a small amount of table sugar to help "arouse" yeast activity. Is this really counter productive??

To return to the original question posed by LSDave, I have run into a salt free recipe for Tuscan (Peasant) Bread. The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger (NOT Beranbaum's) includes a recipe tailered for a bread machine. The instructions are lengthy, as it involves a preferment. Someday, perhaps I'll manage to post it.
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The Yakima Kid



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:17 am    Post subject: Sugar, yeast, and fun with fermentation Reply with quote

Sweet breads have a sugar solution that is two to three times that found in a bread dough; at this point the sugar retards fermentation through osmotic effects. Sugar also slows the hydration rate of gluten proteins which can generally be resolved by increasing the mixing times. Smile
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skramy



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject: Rustic Bread Reply with quote

Italian breads are leavened with a biga as I mentioned before. The biga does not contain salt in my favorite recipe from the cookbook "Cooking Up an Italian Life: simple pleasures of Italy in recipes and stories" by Sanders. The biga or sponge is 1 pkg (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, preferably filtered or bottles, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour. Put in a 4-cup glass container because the mixture will expand to three times it's original volume. Let the mixture sit from 12 to 48 hours. It will bubble up, rise, and in the end look like pancake batter.
To the biga, add 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use bread flour) and the recipe says 2 teaspoons salt which I leave out. This makes 2 (1 pound) loaves of bread. I use a very slow rise for complex flavors to develop, either by refrigerating the dough or punching it down and allowing it to rise at least twice before forming into loaves or buns. Shape the dough into a tube and rub with flour, place on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. I also use parchment paper. Let rise for about an hour or doubled in size.
Bake 425 for 25 to 30 minutes for loaves, about 15 minutes for rustic rolls. For rolls I really like to add the McCormick salt free Garlic Herb mixture to the dough. I also like to spray the rolls before baking with the olive oil spray...
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