Mmm bread…I can’t live without it. It’s doughy, soft, fluffy and totally irresistible. I know you feel the same about bread too! It’s a staple in everyone’s diet. We make our favourite sandwiches with it, we make doughy pizza with it and we even spread it with some simple butter and jam. Delicious.
But why do a lot of bread recipes ask for salt to be added? Salt is a must in every meal we cook. It enhances and balances out the flavours in all of our meals and just makes them taste a 1000x better. But is it really necessary to add it in bread? And can you make bread without salt?
What Does Salt Do In Bread?
Bread is made with 4 vital ingredients; flour, yeast, water and salt. You will also find that some recipes will ask for sugar to be added too. You can find out here why we add sugar to our loaves.
Surprisingly, salt is actually a really important ingredient when making bread, and if consuming salt does not cause you any health issues then you should definitely be adding it to your loaf.
If you are making an enriched dough, like for doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and panettone, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about relying on salt for flavour as the butter, eggs, milk and sugar will enhance the taste of your dough.
But a basic loaf of bread does not get any taste from the flour or yeast, so it relies on salt to help it taste better. It balances out the flavour of the yeast and the flour and if you don?t add salt, your bread will taste very bland, flat and have a paper-like texture. No one wants tasteless bread!
Watch not to add too much salt though or the loaf will be going straight in the bin!
Another reason why you should be adding salt in your loaf is that it helps with the rising process. This helps tighten the gluten structure and strengthen the dough. Salt slows down the fermentation process of the yeast, allowing the loaf to hold onto carbon dioxide. Salt’s ability to slow down the rising process means you will get a good volume to your loaf.
By not adding salt, you are not allowing the dough to rise properly and you will end up with a flatter looking bread. Sad.
Can You Make Bread Without Salt?
If you tend to buy store-bought bread, then chances are that it will contain salt. And since each loaf will vary in salt content, you will probably be consuming more salt than you want.
The best way to control how much salt is being added to your loaf is by making it yourself or in a bread machine. If you don’t already own a bread machine or don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on one, there are great budget-friendly options out there that produce the tastiest loaves.
You can add anything between 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt to your dough and that will not compromise the taste, rise or texture. Following the recipe is definitely your best bet in achieving a great loaf which is much healthier than a store-bought one.
If you are really concerned about adding salt to your loaf, you can find a recipe that does not include salt. Just know that your bread will not taste as good and might come out the oven flatter than you would expect.
When I started making bread, I didn’t think salt was important so I never measured it, I would just grind the tiniest amount in with my salt grinder. Now I realise that I was hardly putting any salt in my loaves! No wonder my loaves tasted a bit bland! Now I add around 2 teaspoons of salt to make sure my loaves come out tasting yummy.
But, if you are really concerned about the amount of salt you are consuming then you can make bread without salt. You might just have to compromise on the taste, texture and size of your loaf.
To see for yourself what bread tastes like without salt, make a loaf with salt and one without it. You will be surprised at the difference!