You’re looking through your homemade bread recipe and notice one thing: you need salt. So what happens if you don’t put salt in bread or only have a little bit of salt in hand? Does your bread really need the salt called for?
Salt is critical for baking bread. It performs many functions, from enhancing the flavor to controlling yeast reproduction. Without it, you may end up with a flat loaf of bread with a lack of flavor. That said, if you’re low on salt, you might consider heading to the grocery store before baking a loaf.
Hey! I am Michelle, a self-taught baker with over ten years of experience. I have experimented with all types of recipes, especially when it comes to bread! During my bread-making journey, I’ve learned a lot of important info along the way – including what happens to bread with too little salt.
Ready to find out what happens?
- What Happens to Bread With Too Little Salt?
- How to Make Bread Without Salt (2 Ways)
- Final Words
What Happens to Bread With Too Little Salt?
Whether you’re trying to nix salt from your diet or you simply don’t have a whole lot of salt on hand, there may come a time when you think your bread doesn’t really “need” the salt called for in your recipe.
But it does.
Here are some of the critical things that can happen if your bread has too little salt.
1. Overly Sticky Dough
Have you ever tried working with a dough that’s frighteningly sticky? It’s no fun. In fact, it’s near impossible to knead it and shape it the way you please. And that’s one of the risks you run without adding enough salt to your bread dough.
Why? Because salt is a yeast inhibitor, and without it, the yeast will run rampant, consuming all of the sugars. In turn, the dough ferments rapidly, which means it rises far too quickly.
I know what you’re thinking – “Great! I won’t have to wait too long for my bread to rise.” Sure, it sounds like a dream come true. But overactive yeast leads to an overly sticky dough that’s challenging to work with.
‘Nuff said; you need salt to slow down yeast reproduction, resulting in a beautiful bread dough that can be kneaded and proofed to your liking.
2. Flat Bread
I enjoy flatbread as much as the next person. But there is a big difference between “flat bread” and “flat bread.” If your bread loaf isn’t supposed to be flat, you’ll end up disappointed when you pull it out of the oven.
What’s the deal? Well, salt acts as a gluten network strengthener. And, in case you were wondering, strong gluten strands are essential in order for your bread dough to hold its shape. A strong and tight gluten network will retain carbon dioxide, allowing your bread to rise beautifully.
A weak gluten network will result in horrendous, unappealing flat bread. So make sure you add salt!
3. Pale Crust
One of the benefits of making homemade bread is a gorgeous, deeply browned crust. But if you’re baking bread sans salt, you’ll end up with an ugly, pale crust that is nothing short of unappetizing.
It all roots back to salt inhibiting yeast reproduction.
You see, homemade bread gets the desirable golden crust from excess sugars while baking. If the yeast consumes all of the sugar during fermentation, there won’t be any left for the crust, resulting in a disappointing light-colored crust.
4. Less Flavor
Salt makes everything taste better. It’s a fact. It is a well-known flavor enhancer with the potential to reduce bitterness while increasing sweetness (and sour and umami flavors in specific recipes, too).
The same is true for loaves of bread. Without salt, bread simply won’t taste that great – unless, of course, you’re used to eating foods that do not contain salt. Otherwise, you’re going to notice a difference – I can’t stress this enough.
Add salt, and let your taste buds soar!
5. Goes Bad Faster
Did you know that salt helps bread last longer? It does. Salt helps retain moisture and combats the recrystallization of starches, keeping your bread fresh while avoiding swift microbial growth that can cause bread to go stale and moldy.
Essentially, salt will fend off stale, soggy, and moldy bread much better than a loaf that does not contain bread.
How to Make Bread Without Salt (2 Ways)
I will be honest with you – I do not recommend making bread without salt unless you absolutely have to. If you’re all out of options and need salt-free bread, here are two options.
1. Reduce the Amount of Salt by Half
Okay, so this isn’t technically “salt-free.” But if you can stand a pinch of salt in your bread loaf, the next best option is to use half the amount of salt called for in your bread recipe. You may want to increase the number of seasonings and spices to combat the lack of flavor, though.
If you’re concerned about your salt intake, remember this: most recipes call for a very minute amount of salt, to begin with. That amount will be spread out between an entire loaf, which means each slice will end up with trace amounts of salt.
Are you still worried? Go ahead and cut the amount in half. The dough should still be easy to work with, rise, and bake as expected without any flaws.
2. Find a Salt-Free Recipe
The other option is to find a salt-free bread recipe (otherwise known as “Tuscan bread”) and give it a go. Sure, it will taste a little different, but it will work like a charm for those that want a true-and-true salt-free loaf of bread.
Welp, there you have it, folks. Salt is essential for your bread! If you want to learn more, check out these interesting, commonly found questions I found that have been asked by people just like you!
Can you omit salt when baking bread?
Can you? Yes, there is no “rule” against baking bread without salt. Should you, though? No. If your bread recipe calls for salt, use it. Otherwise, you will end up with problematic dough and a disappointing final product.
Does salt affect bread rising?
Salt affects bread rising. Because it inhibits yeast reproduction, it allows bread dough to rise, as usual, resulting in a loaf of texturally inviting bread with the correct amount of rising.
What is the recommended amount of salt to add to bread dough?
Typically, the recommended amount of salt to add to bread dough is anywhere from 1.8% to 2.2% of the overall weight of the flour. So, if your bread recipe calls for 500 grams of flour, you would need 10 grams of salt.
Why does my homemade bread taste bland?
Homemade bread will likely taste bland because you didn’t add enough of one key ingredient; salt. However, you may not have added enough seasonings and spices if you’re making flavorful bread. Double-check that you’re using the correct measuring cups/spoons.
Salt is critical for homemade bread. Without enough salt, bread dough will become impossibly sticky and tricky to work with. Not only that, but it can lead to a flat loaf of bread with an unappealing pale crust and bland overall flavor. It will spoil quicker, too!
How much salt do you use to make bread?About Michelle