Q&A Salt

Return to FAQ page

Q: Bread either too salty or not salty enough! How do I adjust the recipes?

A: Salt is present in our recipes to enhance the flavor, so you should adjust the amount to suit your palate! This may take a couple of tries to get it exactly how you like it. For those of you on a diet that requires a low or zero-sodium diet, you can adjust the recipe to match your needs.  The flavor will change, of course.

The recipes in our books were tested with Morton’s Kosher salt, so if you use something else, you’ll need to make some adjustments. In particular, be aware that if you swap in table salt (which is finer-ground), you need to use less. You will find the same saltiness if you use:

1 tablespoon table salt

1 1/2 tablespoons Morton’s Kosher Salt

2 tablespoons Diamond Kosher Salt

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

Return to FAQ page

Pin It

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

70 thoughts on “Q&A Salt

  1. My family is really enjoying the breads from your cookbook. I am a diabetic however and on Weight Watchers and I have a few questions about portion size and nutrion breakdown. How many people would a one pound loaf usually serve? What would the average calories be and the dietary fiber percentage. I realize that the recipes are vastly different depending on how much of each type of flour is in each recipe. I’d just like an average, if that’s at all possible. Have tried 4 of the recipes at the beginning of the book and plan to make a fifth tonight. Have yet to make one that we didn’t like.

    Thanks for any light you can shed on the questions I asked.

    Pat McCollem

    • White flour contains 455 calories per cup. The basic recipe calls for 6.5 cups that equals 2,997 (3,000) calories. The dough will make 4 loafs at 740 calories per loaf. If you cut the loaf into 4 equal pieces, each piece will be 185 calories. The water, salt and yeast really don’t add much to the above totals. I count my calories, so I plan my bread into my daily schedule or walk an extra mile.

  2. The recipe on Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s site has 1-1/2 TEAspoons and I’ve wondered if that is a proofreading error or a deliberate change. My first batch was from that site’s recipe. I’ve found in subsequent batches that a tablespoon of kosher salt (Morton’s) is a nice amount for us.

  3. Hi,
    I bought your book, made pizza and boule with the first batch, then got ambitious and made a double batch yesterday. Today, realised that in my excitement I forgot the salt! Do you think I can knead it in, or should I resign myself to just adding it to the cornmeal on the peel and serving it with salty butter, cheese and sauces?

  4. Venusia: Oh no! I did this once with yeast, and I made a slurry of yeast and water, mixed it into the dough and then used a little flour to bring it back to correct consistency. You could try that with salt– it’s probably the kind of thing I would try, worst that would happen is that it would be unevenly salted. Big deal, it’s only food and we can have more tomorrow.

    Or, try your idea. You know, there’s an Italian no-salt tradition from Tuscany, where supposedly in the Middle Ages they were trying to beat some new salt tax and invented this whole new bread tradition based on salt-free dough. If you go that way, be aware that the dough will seem hyperactive (rising more than usual)— it will work fine though, but the taste will be bland. Your various salt-innundating ideas may work though. Jeff

  5. Had an excellent bread in a restaurant that had a very salty crust, probably course salt sprinkled on it before baking? I’m going to try this next but were wondering if you have tried anything like this. As an aside, great publicity for you in the April 18 issue of The Week!
    Monet

  6. Hi Monet,

    Yes, I’ve made breads with a salt crust. I did a bagel with a mix of sesame seeds and course sea salt that was wonderful.

    Let us know how it comes out!

    My brother told me about the article in The Week, but we haven’t seen it yet.

    Thanks, Zoë

  7. I am a psychologist losing my hearing to Meniere’s Disease. Like those with congestive heart failure, those of us with Meniere’s Disease must strive to live a low sodium lifestyle. I try to consume no more than 1000 mg of salt a day. The biggest loss has been bread. Searching for salt-free recipes, I recently stumbled across a website touting your “no knead” pizza crust. I got your book the same weekend. I have had no success at making low sodium bread in my bread machine and never expected to attempt to make bread without a machine. However, you made bread-making sound so easy that I decided to conduct an experiment. I made a half-batch of your master recipe. Then, based upon learning that salt inhibits the action of yeast, I made another half-batch in which I reduced the yeast by half and only used 1/16 of a teaspoon of coarse sea salt. This process yielded two loaves similar in all respects but taste. For the first time in a long time, I was able to enjoy eating something very similar to regular bread. For me, it’s not about artisan bread or homemade bread. It’s just about bread. Thank you for making this possible.

    I plan to continue working to improve my “crumb” and to infuse my bread with taste. I was wondering if you would consider developing and making available an algorithm for decreasing the sodium in your bread recipes. If you take up this challenge, I urge you to mention low sodium bread on your website to that others like myself might find their way to you and to the possibility of bread again.

    With gratitude,

    Michele Mick

    • If you need some excellent recipes for super low salt needs, check out cook books by Donald A. Gazzaniga. To me he is the no-salt guru! He actually avoided heart surgery by changing his food choices and creating super healthy and tasty new recipes.

  8. Michele:

    Thanks for all your comments and enthusiasm, I really appreciate it. Our second book will directly address this question. We’ve been testing our loaves without salt, and the short answer to your questions is that all of our recipes work just fine with zero salt, let alone 1/16 tsp. As you’ve noticed, the only thing that changes is the flavor; salt really brings up and heightens the relatively bland flavor of wheat. So if people like the flavor well enough with zero salt, that’s what they should go with. But some people just don’t enjoy eating salt-free bread, and there’s nothing to do about that!

    If it’s too bland, start adding back a little salt, 1/16 of a tsp at a time (if your health condition can tolerate it). And of course, talk with your doctor before you add back any salt.

    One thing– salt-free doesn’t work well at high altitudes (like Denver CO). Without salt inhibition, it just over-rises and then falls back into a dense lump. See our high-altitude suggestions at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=144.

    But that’s basically it; that’s the algorithm. Let us know how you make out with this. Jeff

  9. Like Michele I am trying to stay on a low sodium diet and have been trying various methods to make salt free bread. I have had little luck with bread machines, but have had better luck with other no-knead recipes. Your method, however is the best by far. The tang the dough develops makes up for some of the lack of salt. You deserve a Nobel prize, (right after the guy who invented the screwdriver with the interchangeable bits). Thanks, and I look forward to your next book.
    Geoff

    • My husband is now restricted to a low salt diet. I own both your Artisan Bread in five minutes a day and your Healthy Artisan Bread in five minutes a day. I noticed that other comments have mentioned somewhere you have given interchangeable ideas for salt, but I have yet to find that part in the books. I have made the whole wheat bread with less salt, and I love all of the recipes I have tried. Also loving the new Kindle special on your original book. I just posted it to my Facebook feed for other friends to enjoy. I would love any suggestions you can give to make low-salt tasty bread.

      • You can go as low as you like with salt, and you saw that we decreased it 33% in HBin5; you can go further. Half? 75% decreased? Zero? All are possible, though at the extremes, gluten development won’t be as good, and of course, flavor will change. you can also try the salt substitutes (which are potassium-based), alone, or in combo with regular (sodium-based) salt.

        Be careful with salt substitutes if you’re on blood pressure medication, because some of the meds cause retention of potassium; check with your doctor if you go that route.

  10. To Michele Mick,
    I too have Meniere’s and need to have the same low level of salt in my diet. I make the basic dough with a scant (slightly less than full) 1/2 TB of light salt, then decrease the yeast to 1 TB and that works quite well. I reduce the yeast because the salt inhibits yeast growth, so when the salt level is lower, the yeast grows more vigorously. I have also done it with 1 1/2 TB yeast and that works too. These changes result in breads that have 1/6 the sodium of the original recipes and still taste good to my palate, which as adjusted over 3 years to a low salt diet. By the way, the very low salt diet worked great for me; my hearing has greatly improved.

  11. To Catherine and Michelle:

    Another Meniere’s sufferer here.

    I’ve been making low(er) sodium bread for a couple of years now in a bread machine. I recently started making no-knead bread and found the tricks I learned with the bread machine transfer rather well.

    What works for me is to reduce the salt called for in the recipe by 1/3 and then instead of using salt, use 50% salt and 50% NO SALT – a sodium free product from French’s (the mustard people). NO SALT contains potassium chloride and is a bit tricky to use. The secret I have found is to never go beyond a 50/50 mixture. Otherwise, you risk getting a metallic taste. At 50/50 it is hard to tell the difference.

    Most recipes call for way too much salt anyway. I have found that you can normally reduced the amount called for in the recipe by 1/3 without compromising flavor. Then you cut the sodium by another 50%.
    The end result is great tasting bread with about 1/3 the sodium.

    I had good luck with the following modification to the ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ basic recipe:
    6.5 C flour
    3 C liquid (I use 1/3 beer)
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon NO SALT
    1/2 to 3/4 TEASPOON instant yeast.

    Let rise for 12+ hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. At baking time you will need to allow 2-3 hours to rise again after forming loaf.

    This is a hybrid recipe which combines some of the techniques of the original New York Times recipe. The longer initial fermentation time helps with the flavor.

    The sodium content works out to about 600 mg. per 1 lb. loaf.

    You may be able to reduce the salt / NO SALT even more by adding other flavor enhancers. Just don’t use more NO SALT than salt.

    Some things you can add to enhance the flavor:
    Add 1.5 Tbsp sugar.
    Add 1/4 tsp onion powder.
    Add 2 Tbsp of wheat germ plus 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten.
    Add 1 Tbsp of cider vinegar.

    I am able to keep my Meniere’s symptoms in check by keeping my sodium intake around 1000 mg. per day. It sounds like it would be easy to do given the USDA guidelines of 2400 mg. sodium per day for an adult, but it isn’t. I would be willing to bet that most people consume more than double the recommended sodium on most days.

    For those of you wondering… Meniere’s is a condition of the inner ear. Sodium causes excess fluid buildup which leads to dizziness, vertigo, loss of hearing and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It isn’t much fun, but at least it is not contagious.

    • Just found this site, but also found your book. I’m ready to make the bread dough this weekend. I sympathize with those with Menieres. I’m also very salt restricted, but not from that. My problem is polycystic kidney disease, (a very common disease apparently, though not many people know about it) and since so much prepared food, including bread, has so much salt (sodium) I’m supposed to add no additional salt to the food I prepare and eat. And any prepared food must contain 5% or less, per serving, sodium. My palate has changed, and I actually enjoy food more now ( oddly), but bread is a real problem. I’ m looking forward to trying your method without salt. I appreciate that you are going to be testing the potassium versions, but potassium poses another problem–too much and it leads to neurological problems–I think in anyone–therefor, I never use potassium salt-sub products. So, I’m wondering if you would also be willing to test other savory type herbs and flavors for your next book.

      • Deb: Our next book isn’t even on the drawing board yet, so who knows… Herbs are always in our palette, though. Jeff

  12. I made my first batch of bread and found that the amount of salt was far to much for our taste. Reducing the salt to less than half of the recipe called for was a much better idea for us. I imagine that all of the recipes will have to be far less salt than called for.
    I was very pleased with the ease of mixing and shaping and baking the loaves though and this will become a main stay in our home, just less salty! Thanks for your help here in this fourm.
    Mary Ann from Knoxville, Tennessee

  13. Right now, as I have four batches of dough resting for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast(s), I’m realizing that I mistakenly used table salt rather than Morton’s Kosher.

    Yikes. That’s a hefty shift in the ratio. If anyone sees this in time, will it be too salty to serve? Should I re-mix all my doughs? And I was so excited to be sharing your lovely recipe with my family!

    Sincerely,
    Salty in Wisconsin

    • Beth: It depends. Did you use the salt volume from the first book (1 1/2 T), or from the second book (1 T)? I’m guessing if it’s our saltier stuff, this may be too much. If from the new book, bet you’re OK. Only way to know for sure: bake a little roll right now and taste it— only re-mix if you don’t like the result. Jeff

  14. Congratulations on the new FAQ tab, I totally found what I was looking for! I realized upon baking that my bread wasn’t salty enough, even though I doubled all the quantities to a T (not sure if it’s because I used a starter or because I added some of the dough from before). I will try that salt slurry method and see how it turns out! Any tips on how to get it incorporated without ruining the bubbles?

    • Soleil: Sounds like you are trying to add more salt to an already-mixed batch. That’s a little chancy, depending on the age of the batch. I’ve done stuff like this with slurries in the first couple of days. To counter the problem, you can add a little more flour and water so that the yeast will have something new to munch on and create a little extra carbon dioxide. Jeff

  15. Hi! I just made my first batch of dough and baked a loaf today. It tasted really good, but was slightly too salty. Is there any way that I can make the dough less salty without throwing it out? Thank you so much for helping us!

    • Regina: Take a look at our FAQs page for decreasing salt. As for this batch, you can use it as the basis for a new batch, in which you can radically decrease the salt. If you want to decrease it by almost half, use no salt at all in the new batch. Otherwise, something in-between.

      Add the liquid to the existing batch, and mix it around. Then add the rest of the ingredients. If you’re using vital wheat gluten, be sure to mix that with the dry ingredients first. Jeff

  16. This is mortifying, I wish you all had a method of direct contact, but here goes…

    Tuesday, I mixed a half batch of your basic recipe, let it sit overnight, and then baked a small ball of dough on Wednesday. When I tried to eat it, I got awful gas. It was immediate, just while eating the bread, and happened three times (I spaced out eating bits of it, to try to determine if it was only due to the bread). Do you know what might be causing this? I still have some dough in the fridge, which I’d rather try to doctor than throw out completely (organic flour ain’t cheap).

    I used cold water from the tap, let it sit on the counter for 3 hrs, then refrigerated overnight. The bread was incredibly salty, so I may have not have measured the salt right. It was kosher sea salt, and I used Red Star active dry yeast.

    • ST: Well, salt shouldn’t do this. If it was the whole grain basic recipe, and you’re not used to whole grains, that could be the explanation. But if it was just white flour, I really don’t have any ideas. Maybe you’re not usually a bread-eater? Some people complain of this with any wheat product, but you didn’t say that.

      Could decrease the salt but I don’t imagine that’s the explanation … Jeff

  17. It’s not the whole grain recipe, just the basic boule recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, made with organic white flour. And I’m definitely a bread-eater.

    It was also incredibly sticky, nearly impossible to form, and very different from the shaping video I saw afterward. Is it possible to add more flour to the dough at this point?

    • Hi ST,

      You can add more flour to the dough. It is easiest to do this in a stand mixer. Once it is mixed in let it sit for a couple of hours to allow the flour to absorb the water before you try to use it.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. Would it also be a violation of copyright for someone to make bread from your recipes and then sell them? Supposing a group of church youth wanted to have a bake sale and they wanted to sell some of the limpa that comes from your book–that’s disallowed too, right?

    • Carter: Copyright only protects written and visual content in books and on the web, not the baked results that people might sell– so this is no problem, people are doing it all over the country. We’d love it if you’d mention our books and website to people who enjoy the bread, but you’re not obligated. See our post about this under the FAQs section, click on the tab above– that addresses what you CAN’T do. Jeff

  19. Slashing–is it really necessary to slash the loaf? What does that accomplish? I have trouble getting the cornstarch washed loaves to accept a slash with my bread knife–it wants to stick….

    • Carter: About slashing– we find it makes for a more evenly-risen loaf, without odd shaping. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, not a problem.

      In loaf pans, it’s less important to slash– the pan prevents most of the odd shaping. Jeff

  20. Thank you to the low sodium posters and Meniere’s folks, my husband is just starting on this path and I am trying to adjust my bread for him.
    Any more tips would be greatly appreciated.

  21. Thanks for a great book – I too (like MANY on this post) have Meniere’s and being able to have some control Re: the salt in bread is a real break-through. I just ate two slices of Artisan crust pizza without fear of vertigo because you helped me understand why/when to use salt in the recipe. You probably set out to teach folks how to make bread, but you did so much more – you put bread back on the table for those of us with Meniere’s. Thank you and may God bless you!!!!

    • Thank you Linda,

      I have a couple of friends who have Meniere’s, and know how hard it can be. I am so thrilled that you are finding recipes that help!

      Enjoy all the bread, Zoë

    • Hi Tracee,

      Sea salt is wonderful and you can use it in any of our recipes. You just don’t want to use one that is super fine or you will need to reduce the amount in the recipe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. I made my first batch of no need bread last night and found it to be slightly too salty to my taste. I will try less salt next time but is there a way I can make the remainder of my dough less salty?

  23. So, if the Master recipe uses 1000 grams of flour and 750 grams of water, how many grams of salt and of yeast should I use? I prefer to weigh my ingredients to be more accurate, that way it doesn’t matter what “kind” of salt I use. Thanks!

    • Anna: That recipe takes 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt (we tested with the Morton brand). You can decrease that amount to taste, to as low as 1 tablespoon.

      Tablespoon-gram-ounce equivalencies for Morton Kosher salt are on page 54 of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (http://bit.ly/3wYSSN)

  24. I had made a full batch of emmer bread (p. 106) and myfirst loaf didn’t seem salty enough. Rather than risk ruining the dough by stirring in salt, I adapted the salt crust technique from the rosemary potato dinner rolls (p. 156) and it worked beautifully on small buns. This is a great way to add salt when badly needed or forgotten in the dough. Amazing what a difference a few grains of sea salt can make.

  25. I forgot to add the salt in my batch of dough yesterday :-(( I realized it when we ate the otherwise delicious bread last night. Is there any way I can add it now? I still have the rest of the dough in the fridge (master recipe.)

    • I’ve done it, and it’s much easier in a food processor, but can be done by hand. Make a slurry of the missing salt (minus whatever percentage you already used out of the dough), and about 1/4 cup water. Remix the dough, working in about 1/2 cup of flour, then allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Should re-accumulate air bubbles. Jeff

  26. i put to much salt in the whole wheat recipe….first time in making this bread… have i killed the yeast or do i need to be more patient

    • Hi Jacki-joan,

      How much salt did you add? Is the dough not rising, is that why you think you put too much salt? It would take quite a bit of salt to prohibit the yeast from working. If the water you added was on the cool side, it may just take longer for the dough to rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. I purchased your first book about a year ago and I have been preaching your method to friends and family members — as well as encouraging them to buy the book(s) after they try the bread.
    I was recently placed on a low-sodium diet and thought I would have to give up on these recipes. Reading what others have posted as well as your own suggestions has given me the motivation to create again!
    I especially enjoy the Soft American Style White Bread recipe…I’m assuming the salt in this can be reduced as well?
    Thanks

  28. What I was expecting to see was how many calories was 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Could you maybe help me with this? I want to create a healthy dinner with this kosher salt. Thank you!

  29. i was so excited to read about reducing salt in the master recipe, as I am about to introduce bread to my 7 month old twins but everything I read says added salt (and sugar) should be avoided. I figured I’d bake some up without the salt but wasn’t sure if it would work. hope they like it!

  30. I have only been using SEA SALT for my bread. Last week I used some kosher salt that I found in my pantry. WOW! I really thought the bread was salty! I’m going back to SEA SALT unless I want a salty tast which might be good for some dinner bread.

  31. You mention that Morton Kosher salt weights 15g/T, but that it is 2/3 as dense as table salt. From what I’ve measured, and have verified online, table salt weighs 17g/T. But 15/17 = 0.89, not .67. I bring all this up because I prefer to measure my ingredients by weight, but don’t want to buy a box of Morton Kosher salt solely to determine its density. Although I’m tempted to, just to get to the bottom of it. 8^)

  32. I just bought Healthy Bread in Five Min an I am wondering if there is a substitute for yeast since I am allergic to it but LOVE bread.? Tx

    • there is not— you are thinking of soda bread, or quick-breads, which are risen by either baking soda or a combo of baking soda plus baking powder. Alas, we don’t have any recipes for those…

      Could experiment with baking soda a la Irish Soda bread, millions of recipes on the internet, but I suspect our dough may be too wet for that (could decrease the water a bit).

  33. Hello Jeff and Zoe, Thank you for your amazing recipes, books, and these threads. I have been making your HBin5 recipes for over a year now and have loved it. Recently, I became pregnant and was put on a low sodium diet, which has been a huge challenge. But, I didn’t have to give up bread because I can make my own, low sodium artisan bread at home! Which has been wonderful, but…we will be moving very soon to a city which is at 7,500 ft altitude. I’ve checked your high altitude thread, and it seems the most important adjustment to make is to INCREASE the amount of salt in the dough. Is there any way around this? I’m currently using only 2-2 1/2 tsp kosher salt in the recipes. Any tips, ideas, or resources that you might be able to direct me to that would help me in my quest to bake my own low sodium bread at a high altitude? Thanks!

    • Well, the salt thing is only one out of 4 strategies which we talk about. You still could use low-yeast, use bread flour, or do the refrigerator-rise trick.

      The other thing– you may find that the bread works fine at 7,500 feet– people are very variable in what they report to us about the effect of altitude– some say it didn’t matter. But then, they may have only been going to Denver.

      • Thank you for your quick reply! I am truly amazed at your level of engagement with your readers. Obviously it’s going to take some experimentation, but I think that without the inhibiting factor of the salt, reducing the yeast will probably be my best bet, in conjunction with the refrigerator rise. Flour types may be trickier (we’re moving to South America), but I’ll investigate further once we get there. P.S. Just got the Artisan Pizzas book yesterday and have already baked up a couple of great pies. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>