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A salt question.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

 I would like to know, if I have to add salt in what ever recipe I should use. When I bake my bread, it calls for salt. Does salt play a part in making the dough work better? In main dishes is it used for flavoring. I would like to omit it from my cooking, but I don't want to ruin whatever I cook or bake. Could their be a salt substitute, with lower sodium?

               Thank you for your answer, and help.

post #2 of 15

In bread, salt is purely for flavor. It keeps your bread from tasting flat.. If you're unsure what that means make a small amount of dough without it and taste :)

post #3 of 15

Also - unless you have an underlying medical condition, as long as you drink plenty of water and avoid too many processed foods you have don't have to worry about your salt intake, just drink lots of water it all balances out.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #4 of 15

In bread dough, salt retards rising a bit. The most beautifully risen loaves I ever made were from dough I forgot to add salt to.

 

Unfortunately, bread without salt is pretty nearly flavorless.

 

Most people actually need a bit of salt in their diets to keep blood electrolytes in balance. Have you been told to eliminate it?

post #5 of 15

Just to add to the above, when baking bread there are two reasons to add salt. One is (as previously said) to add flavour. The second is that the dough develops taste over time as the glutens break down (hence sourdoughs and poolish doughs etc. have much more flavour).  If you don't add salt then as Terry says it will grow too quickly and won't allow flavour to develop in the flour to the same extent.

 

It's not healthy to remove all salt from your diet - salt is a vital part of your body, nearly 1% of your blood is salt. That means that if salt was a liquid then the 'average male' would have about 5ml of salt in their bloodstream at any one time. You need to understand exactly what you're doing to your body before you decide to cut out or down on any substance. I'm not trying to be patronising, just to advise you to be extremely careful with cutting such a vital part of your diet.

 

You can find some good information here:

 

http://www.saltinstitute.org/Issues-in-focus/Food-salt-health

 

Hope this helps. :)

post #6 of 15

Nothing wrong with trying to eliminate salt from your cooking.  In this day and age it's virtually impossible to eliminate salt entirely, unless you plan on cooking everything you eat from scratch.  Even drinks have sodium in them.  You can bake bread without salt, the Tuscany region in Italy is famous for their unsalted bread.  If you don't like salt and don't need it then you should do it.  Just make sure to alert your dinner guests before serving them up saltless food and kindly provide a salt shaker for them.  Honestly, people like me cannot even taste food unless there is salt in it.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Nothing wrong with trying to eliminate salt from your cooking.  In this day and age it's virtually impossible to eliminate salt entirely, unless you plan on cooking everything you eat from scratch.

If you're going to the trouble of baking your own bread and trying to eliminate salt from your cooking that suggests that you will have a very low salt intake - not least because I'm figuring you like good food so won't be pigging out on junky processed food and fizzy pop. I may be wrong in that assumption so please feel free to correct me if needed. However, I find the above comment worrying, especially the suggestion of eliminating salt entirely. There most certainly IS something wrong with doing that, as the information I searched out says.

 

I'm just asking you to be balanced, for your own sake. Yes excess salt may be bad for you, but so is salt deficiency. By all means, limit processed foods, and do your bit where possible to manage it properly, just don't be fanatic about cutting it out, it's dangerous.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malecook View Post

 I would like to know, if I have to add salt in what ever recipe I should use. When I bake my bread, it calls for salt. Does salt play a part in making the dough work better? In main dishes is it used for flavoring. I would like to omit it from my cooking, but I don't want to ruin whatever I cook or bake. Could their be a salt substitute, with lower sodium?

               Thank you for your answer, and help.

 In Bread, salt retards the yeast & helps control the fermentation. It also adds flavor.

 

Here is a recipe from Cooks.com :  http://www.cooks.com/recipe/so2cr1j8/salt-free-bread.html

 

Omitting it from your cooking entirely is going to be a challenge.

 

Here is a good article on why salt is used in cooking, I have clipped a portion of the article for you: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/Salt.htm


Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used. Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables. Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure. Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension. Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure. Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit. One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.
 



Alternative Uses - Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below. Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard. Next usage, foods won’t stick.


A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining - this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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post #9 of 15

Hmmm, some nice tips there. Thanks. :)

post #10 of 15

Unless you've been directed to by your doctor, don't worry about your salt too much.

 

Yes, there are substitutes of a sort. Usually Potassium Chloride is what they use instead and you can often buy it in your grocery store. It doesn't taste the same or cook the same and I really can't recommend it.  If you're trying to reduce sodium in your diet and cooking, my general advice is in this linked thread.  I'd change my comments about Pearl River Bridge as they've changed something recently and their sodium went up. So I'm on the hunt again for a good flavored lower sodium soy sauce. I've got a bottle of Lee Kum Kee reduced sodium I'm going to try out soon. And an Amoy First Extract soy that's close to what Pearl River Bridge used to be without claiming to be low sodium, but it's still relatively low.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartScholes View Post

If you're going to the trouble of baking your own bread and trying to eliminate salt from your cooking that suggests that you will have a very low salt intake - not least because I'm figuring you like good food so won't be pigging out on junky processed food and fizzy pop. I may be wrong in that assumption so please feel free to correct me if needed. However, I find the above comment worrying, especially the suggestion of eliminating salt entirely. There most certainly IS something wrong with doing that, as the information I searched out says.

I'm just asking you to be balanced, for your own sake. Yes excess salt may be bad for you, but so is salt deficiency. By all means, limit processed foods, and do your bit where possible to manage it properly, just don't be fanatic about cutting it out, it's dangerous.

Try not to be so alarmed by this. The OP's diet is none of out business, he/she just asked if there is a substitute for salt.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 15

As a kid we used to go to Spain for vacation, and I remember the bread (kinda like French baguettes or flutes) was unsalted. It was utterly SHOCKING to me - and I was just a wee kid. But I didn't get it. It tasted like doodoo to me. lol.gif Or rather, it didn't have any taste. 

 

 

Of course, as with nearly everything else, by the end of the vacation, I was just used to it!!

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Try not to be so alarmed by this. The OP's diet is none of out business, he/she just asked if there is a substitute for salt.

Aye, I know, and trust me I'll not be losing any sleep over it. All I meant was that your comment seemed to suggest that it was ok to try to cut out salt completely, and this would be worrying advice to see posted. In my experience a lot of people take what they read on internet forums as gospel (and not with a pinch of salt!! Couldn't resist). I was just making the point that eliminating salt completely is dangerous, lest someone decide to have a go at doing so.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

As a kid we used to go to Spain for vacation, and I remember the bread (kinda like French baguettes or flutes) was unsalted. It was utterly SHOCKING to me - and I was just a wee kid. But I didn't get it. It tasted like doodoo to me. lol.gif Or rather, it didn't have any taste. 

 

 

Of course, as with nearly everything else, by the end of the vacation, I was just used to it!!

 

I'd like to think that the reason bread is unsalted in these regions because it serves solely as a vehicle to mop up a flavorful sauce.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartScholes View Post


Aye, I know, and trust me I'll not be losing any sleep over it. All I meant was that your comment seemed to suggest that it was ok to try to cut out salt completely, and this would be worrying advice to see posted...

 

No, my comment was actually suggesting that it is so difficult to eliminate salt from our diet that cutting it from our cooking wouldn't necessarily eliminate sodium intake altogether.  Think about how much salt is in canned goods, any type of drink, even orange juice has salt in it.  Anything you buy in a package, including pasta, beans, even ketchup will contain sodium.  I don't think it's safe to say that just because the OP is baking his own bread it means he's also making his own pasta or growing his own tomatoes or making his own granola.  He's buying something, and chances are there's sodium in it.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 15

I second the comment of Stuartchoices regarding the bread dough.

Its good to keep an eye on your salt intake as these days we get too much salt though manufactured foods (when you eat these, that is), but we do need a bit of salt to keep our bodies functioning well.

Other shared good tips.

If you want to keep an eye on your salt intake then omit it elsewhere but use only 2% salt in your bread dough. Thats enough but not too much.

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