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tino27

Lower Salt Bread

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tino27   

I have a friend who was recently informed me that he had to cut back on his sodium intake. And his biggest regret? Having to cut back on the breads. And since I do have a love for the breads, I told him that I would help him tweak his aunt's bread recipe.

I know that salt plays two important roles in breadmaking:

1) Flavor ... no salt bread just tastes flat

2) Controls fermentation

So, my basic question is this ... if I reduce the salt by, say, 50% in my recipe, would I reduce the amount of yeast needed by that amount, too?

Anyone have any experience in doing reduced-sodium breads? Also, is there something I can use in place of salt that could also help to reduce the amount of sodium, but still keep the flavor?

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MelissaH   

Aren't Tuscan breads historically low in salt? Something to do with salt being taxed heavily, people learning to make do without, and the historical preference carrying through?

MelissaH

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I'd be really curious how much salt is in the recipe you want to tweak. Even this simple recipe only uses two teaspoons of salt for an entire loaf. Surely that is not an overwhelming amount?

Those who need to decrease salt in their diet need to look more at pre-prepared foods as those are the sodium culprits -- most bread only uses a few teaspoons and shouldn't have to be in the league of those foods which your friend should have to worry about.

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tino27   
I'd be really curious how much salt is in the recipe you want to tweak. Even this simple recipe only uses two teaspoons of salt for an entire loaf. Surely that is not an overwhelming amount?

Those who need to decrease salt in their diet need to look more at pre-prepared foods as those are the sodium culprits -- most bread only uses a few teaspoons and shouldn't have to be in the league of those foods which your friend should have to worry about.

Typically, most bread recipes contain about 2% salt in relation to the amount of flour in the recipe. For 1kg of flour, that's 20g of salt. While it's certainly not a lot, if can still add up.

I agree with you that he will need to moderate the amount of pre-processed foods he eats, but as with most dietary changes, I think he will be most successful if he can incorporate / replace items over time.

I should also note that I am asking this question not only for the benefit of my friend, but maybe also from an academic standpoint as well.

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Aren't Tuscan breads historically low in salt? Something to do with salt being taxed heavily, people learning to make do without, and the historical preference carrying through?

MelissaH

I believe they're traditionally made with no salt. There are a lot of tales about where this tradition came from, including the one you mention.

I'm inclined to think it's because they're traditionally eaten with all kinds of things that are high salt!

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Redsugar   

Salt’s obvious purpose in the making of bread is to enhance the flavor. But it has another, very important effect: it retards the action of the yeast. Also, it helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour and make the dough more elastic, resilient, and less sticky. A dough too low in salt will not bake to a crisp crust.

Since salt is often so important to successful bread making, what of those people who are forbidden salt in their diets? If the salt is completely omitted, the amount of yeast must be cut down or the bread will rise too fast and will not have a pleasing texture. Secondly, the bread must be kneaded a little longer to develop the gluten (especially true of rich egg-&-butter breads such as Challah or cheese bread). The crust should be brushed with water midway through baking to ensure crispness.

If a person has only to limit salt intake and not curtail its consumption altogether, it is preferable to use a certain amount of salt in the bread. After all, the salt contained in one slice is quite small if only 1 measured teaspoon has been used in a whole loaf.

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WHT   

You could try using a high heat water bath to kill the yeast after you let it rise. I would think that cutting back on some of the suar used would also help.

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I left the salt out of a batch of hundreds of loaves once and except for tasting like poo it rose and baked just fine. The yeast & all was just the same assuming I didn't eff that up too.

What if he cut his consumption of bread a bit. Have an open face sandwich. But you can use some great substitutes too. Garlic alone would mask the lack of salt taste-wise. And Mrs. Dash has a boatload of really tasty salt-free substitutes. I mean like the other herb combos & stuff. Not really a substitute that tastes like salt but a filler in-er that tastes good so you don't notice the salt is gone.

maybe

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Reducing sodium does not mean eliminating it. I just looked at the nutrition label on some store bought. 2 slices = 18% of USDA recommended something. Who knew? Wonder what my bread RDA is?

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gfron1   

Host's note - this topic has been added to the P&B Index under the Special Diets section. Thanks.

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OK, cut back a tad on the salt, though I agree that the minimal amount of salt in your bread is the least of your friend's nutritional worries. Under salted bread just ain't worth eating. I've forgotten the salt a couple of times and shitcanned the product. Just plain inedible.

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tino27   

Wow! Thank you all for responding. I'm glad this is generating some healthy discussion.

I will absolutely agree with a lot of the sentiment I've read so far.

* Salt is necessary for bread (for flavor and for control of fermentation)

* My friend can and should look at cutting back on processed and prepared foods to cut back on his salt

* Low sodium bread isn't the cure-all

That being said, I wanted to address some of the suggestions that the gracious posters on eGullet have made ...

* Even this simple recipe only uses two teaspoons of salt for an entire loaf.

According to my container of La Baleine sea salt (which is what I use for my breads), a 1/4 tsp of salt contains 580mg of sodium. Therefore, 2 tsp would be 580 x 8 = 4640mg sodium.

4.6g of sodium for a single loaf of bread is significant if you are looking to cut back. Two slices of the loaf and you are looking at consuming 400mg of sodium. As one poster pointed out, that is nearly 20% of the daily recommended sodium intake for someone WITHOUT a salt problem.

So, while I do understand where you all are coming from, my original question still stands. Is it possible to do a good low-sodium bread that doesn't taste like poo (I do love that description, K8memphis!!!)?

BTW, I like the idea of using Ms. Dash ... but I wonder if the herb blend would overpower the bread.

I like the suggestions happening though ... keep them coming! :biggrin:

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natter   

What about using different kinds of liquor to control fermentation and impart flavor. I usually put a teaspoon of some kind of liquor in my bread. What about upping that to a couple of tablespoons or more with a flavorful high proof liqueur like cointreau or chartreuse.

It doesn't seem like that could completely replace the flavor effects of salt, but perhaps a combination of some stronger flavored flours, liquor, and maybe some herbs might make a serviceable loaf of bread.

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tammylc   

I've never tried this, but it seems like a nice flavorful sourdough might at help offset the reduced flavor from the salt.

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Redsugar   

According to my container of La Baleine sea salt (which is what I use for my breads)....

tino27: I am delighted to agree with your choice of La Baleine -- either that particular brand is perhaps the best sel de mer (Aigues-Mortes, France) I've ever eaten on various egg and seafood dishes. It is available in either fine or coarse granulation. (Fine gray sea salt is also recommended.) You have a refined taste, if I may so observe!

Lawrence

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I think the only serious issue is flavor. Tuscan bread formulas show what yeast proportions work in bread without salt.

You could start by buying some tuscan bread and seeing what non-salty seasonings work with it to get rid of the flatness.

also, this is an academic point, but it's been shown that salt does not significantly affect the action of yeast in bread. But it does help strengthen the gluten structure, limiting rising.

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What are low-sodium seasonings?

The following are considered low-sodium seasonings and do not require restriction:

    * allspice

    * bay leaf

    * basil

    * chili powder

    * chives

    * cinnamon

    * cloves

    * curry powder

    * dill

    * extracts (vanilla)

    * vinegar garlic (fresh)

    * garlic powder

    * ginger

    * horseradish sauce

    * lemon juice

    * lime juice

    * mace

    * marjoram

    * dry mustard

    * nutmeg

    * Mrs. Dash®

    * onion (fresh)

    * onion powder

    * oregano

    * paprika

    * pepper

    * rosemary

    * sage

    * tarragon

    * thyme

    * Tabasco®

Source

I wonder how the bacteria in my Croatian yeast would react with the bacteria in my Hungarian paprika? I wish I had the energy to make some right now.

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4.6g of sodium for a single loaf of bread is significant if you are looking to cut back. Two slices of the loaf and you are looking at consuming 400mg of sodium. As one poster pointed out, that is nearly 20% of the daily recommended sodium intake for someone WITHOUT a salt problem.

So, while I do understand where you all are coming from, my original question still stands. Is it possible to do a good low-sodium bread that doesn't taste like poo (I do love that description, K8memphis!!!)?

Like most people have said, the big sodium killer is processed foods. If he eats 2 slices per day of bread (20%) with tons of FRESH fruits and veggies throughout the day, he'll be in pretty good shape. Plus he's eating homemade bread without extenders and other stuff.

The big question is what is his target sodium intake? If a healthy adult needs between 1500 and 2400/day, that's probably what his doctor's trying to get him to target. He probably has to reduce his sodium intake because of hypertension or other vascular troubles. A good walk daily brought my blood pressure down back to normal.

If you cut the salt in half, then he only gets 200mg of sodium. And I think you could make up the flavor with other stuff. Or maybe he does the 2 tsp salt ONCE in a while, but reverts to the less salt bread on a regular basis.

Also since salt makes you retain water, what about supplementing his diet with other stuff that is a diuretic, like licorice? maybe things like that will help bring his body back in balance. but seriously, i would rather have less bread than poopy tasteless bread, just like I love my full-fat cream on the top yogurt that I eat only 1/4 cup of.

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dougal   

Use a low sodium 'salt'.

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/foodand...warwick/losalt/

{LoSalt's own website is highly web-browser-specific :rolleyes: }

And if you use sugar, don't. And then scale back on the 'salt' since you aren't countering the sweetness of the sugar.

Something I've done to *increase* saltiness is to mist the crust with brine.

Doing that with a reduced-salt dough could fool the tastebuds that there was a normal amount of salt present.

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natter   

I think that the best thing to do would be to bake a few loaves of bread reducing the salt by about a quarter of teaspoon per loaf until you found the point where the taste noticeably suffers. And if you come to a point where the salt is low enough and the taste is good enough then stick with that.

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Baggy   

I’ll put a good word in for Dougal – low sodium salt works very well as a replacement for table salt in bread. I have made tens and tens of loaves (actually nearer 200 over the past few years) using a direct substitution of either low sodium or sodium free salts for ordinary salt, typically in tinned loaves in a bread maker.

Bread maker recipes often have a lower level of salt than conventional bread (around 1% salt rather than the traditional 2%). This helps to give the loaf volume in a rapid baking cycle, and with a tinned loaf there are fewer issues with the dough being a little on the weak side. Replacing the salt with potassium chloride produces a result that is indistinguishable from a ‘salt’ recipe. Taking a close look at the recipes could show that some are significantly lower in salt than others (which will help), and for the others, reducing the salt to 1% by weight of the flour will make little difference producing a good loaf (just proof the bread for a slightly shorter time as the yeast will be more active; just add half the level of salt shown in the recipe and reduce the length of proofing by 15 minutes).

On the other hand I don’t recommend you try increasing low sodium salt to 2%. Whilst the loaf volume is just as great (the potassium salt does not seem to retard yeast activity in the same way that ordinary salt does), the taste becomes a little metallic. With low sodium salt I would also steer away from simple breads such as a baguette where the flavour comes exclusively from the flour as the taste can be affected (not in a major way, but if you’re that much of a purist, you’ll notice the difference straight away).

I would also take a look at trying different brands of low sodium salt. Some have reduced sodium and others have no sodium, so you might try making up your favourite loaf with two or three different types and see which is preferred.

Without using salt substitutes (though you might try both strategies), the other approach that might help is to add other flours or toppings to a reduced salt white bread. White bread can be quite tasteless – a result accentuated by reducing the salt. Rather than using fats or butter to add taste, try adding a bit of wholemeal (whole wheat) or fine ground rye flour. Just adding 5% to the weight of flour will make a big difference in taste without producing a dark or heavy loaf. Adding toppings, such as seeds, also can add flavour without needing to use extra salt or fat.

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