Originally Posted by Malecook
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:
Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.
Maintains electrolyte balance.
Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.
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:
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.