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Salt is mission-critical to making good bread, and there are 2 reasons why you can't simply leave it out:

(a) Salt makes bread taste better. Without salt, bread tastes "flat." My daugher can tell with the first bite if I forgot the salt. That's why I have a tip on how to remember it and, conversely, to show you later that it's in there so you don't double-up.

(b) Salt retards yeast growth. Without salt, yeast will grow so fast that a collapse in the oven is more likely to occur. This happens when the warmth causes an "oven spring" and the gluten can be stretched past its breaking point.

All salt is NOT the same!

My recipies specify Diamond Crystal kosher salt. This specific kind is the result of a unique process that produces crystals which are essentially hollow flakes. They are less than half as dense as regular table salt. This allows them to dissolve significantly faster. It also allows them to stick to food for more precise seasoning. They simply don't "bounce" as much. DC kosher salt costs about $2 for a 3# box or $1 for a 13 oz. shaker.

The lower density means that if you used the same amount of table salt by volume instead of the specified DC kosher salt you would have twice as much salt in your bread and it would taste much too salty.

When salt is used as a topping for bread you don't want it to dissolve. For this application, I use coarse sea salt. Diamond Crystal has a very nice coarse Californian sea salt at about $2 for a 22 oz. shaker. You can spend 10 times that (per oz.) for French or Mediterranean sea salt but I doubt you can taste the difference.

Note that both of the above referenced salts do NOT contain iodine. Many chefs feel that iodine creates a harsh flavor, and that's another reason to use a pure, unadulterated product in and on your food.

© 2011 by D. K. Dickey - All Rights Reserved




I did a simple experment to demonstrate the difference between DC kosher and table salt to my students. I filled 2 identical large comercial salt shakers with 9.5 ounces (weight) of DC kosher and regular table salt:

• The shaker with DC kosher salt was full

• The shaker with table salt was less than half full

• Click the photo to enlarge