Questions and Answers – Salt in Baking
How do you know how much salt to add to bake good like yeast bread, pie dough and sweet dough like Danish and cinnamon roll dough?
Salt does the same thing in pastry that it does in cooking – It enhances flavor! It rounds out flavor, and it makes everything seem to come together. It also makes you thirst for more. Salt also has a chemical role. In dough and pastry it enhances texture as well. A brioche made without salt will be tough and dense with a hard crust. Puff pastry will taste flat and greasy and will not color.
Salt has an unusual effect on fat, as well. When you eat sweet butter on bread in your mouth you feel some kind of fat, some kind of oiliness on the palate. If you do that with salted butter you don’t get that same sensation.
Salt has several functions in baked goods:
It contributes to overall flavor.
In bread, it controls the fermentation rate of yeast.
It has a strengthening effect on the gluten protein in the dough.
Without salt, bread rises faster and air pockets enlarge where the gluten has broken, allowing holes to form. Bread made without salt will taste bland. If you choose to eliminate salt, decrease the proofing time so that the large air pockets don’t have time to develop. Salt should not be eliminated from recipes using automatic bread-making machines.
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