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Nov 11, 2013 11:11 AM

Salt Baking

While in Korea, I had noticed street vendors hawking potatoes that were baked in an iron tub of hot salt which they were pushing around in their street carts.

Roasting potatoes slow baked in an iron pot filled with simply water softener salt baked in an oven at 250f should give great results of a fluffier potato. I've also heard this done with a $$ Prime Rib roast but that sounds daring..

Does anyone have any experience in baking with just rock salt? I assume that cheap water softener salt would be safe to use as it is extremely cheap and easy to find.

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  1. I've done fish, ducks, chickens and pineapple. You need a lot of salt and the item shouldn't be that large unless you're ready to work with a lot of salt. And I use coarse sea salt and not water softener salt.

    Salt-baking was one of the first methods André Daguin used to prepare magret de canard, though he did the salt dome thing using a bit of egg white to help set up the packing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      Baking larger items attracts the economy of using water softer salt (used for home and pool treatments) - use as much as you like when at about $5 for 40lbs. It looks/is the same as crushed rock salt.

      1. re: jbermo

        I don't believe that it is food-grade.

    2. I've done shrimp in salt. I'm not sure about the purity of rock salt but the less expensive water softener stuff sounds pretty pure. Am I confused?

      1 Reply
      1. re: travelerjjm

        I'm not sure that there is much culinary difference between culinary rock salt and water softener salt used for home and swimming pool treatment. Geologically speaking, all salt is mined from ancient seabeds (formed by ancient oceans evaporating over time). Purity should not be a problem since you cook with it and not eat it. In Hong Kong they make a great dish of whole chicken baked in mud.

      2. There was just an article in the Washington Post about this. We used to do whole fish like that often but fell out of the habit. It was delicious. As the article said, like a simple sous vide. We use kosher salt. I can't imagine rock salt, unless it was food grade and ground some.

        1. I don't recall where I got the rock salt for this, but I thought it was really good. I have also done potatoes in salt. I think I put a layer of salt some red potatoes rubbed w/ olive oil and covered them with salt. They were very good.

          1. Thank you both Chowser and Free Sample for your interesting links on salt baking. They had contained some of the info that I was looking for.