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Salt in baking....what's the point?

  • r

How many of you use salt in baking cakes,cookies,etc? The last thing I want to taste in a chocolate chip cookie is salt.......yuk!!! I can taste the salt immediately when I take my first bite! Does anyone prefer salt? I have had discussions with some of my friends and some of them put the salt in all the time. One of my friends said it helped in rising but I don't think so?? Thanks,Richie

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  1. Sure you put salt in baked goods. It heightens the flavor of all the other ingred. If you can taste the salt, then there is too much salt in the recipe. You shouldn't taste the salt, but you sure would know if you forgot or didn't add it.

    1. 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.
      From www.homebaking.org

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candice

        Ok,in bread I like the salt. Maybe I am just thinking about the sweet stuff.

        1. re: Richie
          Hungry Celeste

          Someone once told me that salt boosts the "puffing" power of chemical leaveners like baking powder and baking soda...maybe some chemist out there can verify/debunk?

      2. Bake a couple of batches of chocolate chip cookies side by side. One with salt and one without and taste for your self. Also as the other poster said if you are tasting salt then there is too much in the recipe. You can cut the amount of salt in almost any recipe in half without hurting the product. I am pretty salt sensitive and don't taste salt in my cookies but without it the flavor would be flat.

        1. As others said, some form of salt is essential to open up flavors in both savory and sweet dishes. I always use salt in cookies, cakes, and even ice cream. You would only taste it if there's too much or your batter wasn't mixed well. I use kosher salt for cooking but finer sea salt for baking. My mom once forgot to add salt to her sweet zucchini bread and what is usually a glorious loaf cake that is gone in two seconds was a dead brick that had to be tossed out. If you really want to experience the difference for yourself, just do a home experiment...

          1. Sweet baked goods without salt taste uni-dimensional.... just sweet. Salt (and most recipes call for just a pinch/one-eight teaspoon) adds a complexity to the flavour. As another poster said, do a side-by-side comparison next time you bake. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference - maybe you just like the taste of salt-free cookies better.

            Just curious: was that salty choc chip cookie you had home-made or commercial? Some of the packaged cookies from the supermarket contain more salt (and other additives to prolong shelf life) than home-made ones.

            1. I almost agree with you. I've had cookies made with 'normal' salted butter to which the cook added the amount of salt the recipe says, and I thought the results were salty gaggers. The salted butter seems to contribute more salt than the added amount. But no salt at all can make them bland. I normally use unsalted butter with a third the called-for salt, and get results I like - no perceptible salt in the taste.

              2 Replies
              1. re: l'autre
                Becca Porter

                That is a really good point. You should always use unsalted butter in baking unless your recipe specifies otherwise.

                Personally I like everything better with a pinch of salt.

                Also using something coarser than table or fine sea salt will make the salty taste much more pronounced.

                1. re: Becca Porter

                  If you use salted butter in recipes then you should cut the amount of salt called for by the recipe 1/2.

                  I use fine sea salt or even pickling salt in sweet baked goods, but I will use kosher salt in yeasted/savory breads.

              2. If you look on the thread below - you'll see that a lot of people love sweet and salty together in their desserts. I adore it, but it was an acquired taste.

                If you ever bake a cake, try it without salt - blech!

                I'm still looking for the opportunity to use the dessert bruschetta recipe off of that thread: french bread, good chocolate melted, a few flakes of high end salt on top....Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

                I use a little extra in my cookies, too.

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                1 Reply
                1. re: krissywats

                  For a quick fix, eat one of those chewy caramel candies with a pinch of kosher salt. It's delicious!

                2. a tiny bit of salt enhances the flavor of chocolate significantly.

                  1. b

                    I add salt to every sweet I make, except frosting. Does anyone add salt to frosting? It seems I never see a recipe for frosting that calls for salt. Why?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Browniebaker

                      my best guess is that the frosting usually doesn't have as complex a flavor as the stuff it's on. It's job is just to be sweet and moist with maybe one other element (citrus, chocolate or something).

                      1. re: Browniebaker

                        Yes, I do - to buttercream frosting (or I use salted butter) - it really adds another dimension to otherwise bland (only sweet) frosting.

                        1. re: Browniebaker

                          I always add a pinch to buttercream frosting - like in cookies, i think it makes a difference.

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                          1. I so agree with Richie.I hate the fact that salt is added, usually excessively, to most food products including cakes.I can often taste the salt in shop cakes and the salty taste spoils the product.
                            Malcolm Manchester England

                            1. I have to wonder how much salt you are using in your chocolate cookie recipe so that you taste the salt? The salt amount in a double batch is usually one teaspoon or less, so unless you are unnaturally disposed to tasting the salt it should be imperceptible. You will miss the salt, the cookie will taste flat) if you forget it but you should never taste the salt as a dominate or even secondary flavor.