Which Salt?


The quality of ingredients have an inevitable reflection on your final product? The question is when have you gone too far? I could spend $30,000 decking out my kitchen but then again maybe my oven will do!
I have been using organic everything for my sourdough, and organic Sea Salt is not that easy to aquire. Through my obsessive tendancies I have just worked out that the cost of my baked loaves are about $0.97! Surely this is over kill. Maybe i should relook at this with now some experience (and a forum to back me up!) under my belt.
So the question is:-
Is a good quality fine salt just as good as the best sea salt for an ingredient?
124 users have voted.


celia's picture
celia 2008 June 19

97c doesn't sound excessive to me, especially if you're using organic ingredients!  My loaves are more than that, but usually because I'm putting a lot of extra virgin olive oil into them.

I personally don't like table salt in bread, but there are some fine non-organic sea salts on the market for a reasonable price.  I like the Tidman's brand - usually around $6.95 for 500g.

Cheers, Celia
lily 2008 June 19
Living in a country area I use salt from the supermarket and have found 'home brand' table salt lists the ingredients as 'sea salt', is very fine, and provides a pretty mild hint of flavour.  The Saxa coarser sea salt (not flakes) is preferable for me as the effect is more pronounced, and the price is ok.  The pink Murray River Gourmet which is so yummy on other food is way too expensive to add to the bread.
I think a lot can be said for only using premium organic ingredients in your bread, (and I agree with Celia that the cost of 97c is quite good), but I also think that you don't want to get too stressed about the salt provenance. 
celia's picture
celia 2008 June 19

Lily, I find flake salts tricky to use in bread, because some of my recipes call for tsp measures instead of weight, and you get much less salt by measure in flakes.  I remember reading once that some professional bakers grind up Maldon flakes to use in their bread. 

I like the Murray River salt (though my husband doesn't), as well as a brand simply called "Australian Sea Salt" (which is a cheaper alternative to the Tidmans when I can get it).

I don't use much organic wheat flour as a rule, primarily because most of it is stoneground, and I'm not a fan of SG flour - I don't find it as responsive as roller-milled - and I prefer a lighter loaf.   I do use stoneground spelt though, because it doesn't seem to be available roller milled, but in that case I add gluten to lighten the bread.

Cheers, Celia
lily 2008 June 19

Thanks Celia, I've left an enquiry with them about where to get this salt.  Perhaps the truck'll drop some off on it's way through between the Bight and Redfern.  I agree about the flake salt.

I really enjoy working with the Lauke Organic white flour ( the mill's just down the road), especially using the autolyse method.  This and w'meal are the only organic products they supply. I am yet to play around with organic rye etc, I'll try Four Leaf, which will be stone ground I think. As far as striving for 100% organic goes for me, the overall efficiency of picking up bags of locally milled flour in between kindy pick up/drop off and the good service and good results I get in the bread means the bread is 88% organic for now.

I wonder if using autolyse in the spelt bread would overcome the need for added gluten?  I have only used spelt in small proportions so can't answer this yet.
Panevino 2008 June 19
Hi Lily, I'd say yes to autolyse and spelt.  I have a spelt loaf that I bake without gluten and the delay toughens the dough somehow, with a better spring.   In fact, I now started to autolyse for 40 minutes instead of my usual 30 and the dough is somehow overall better.  However, I  also forgot to add salt for over a hour and a half on a different occasion and the dough never really recovered.  It stayed shinny and wet.  The spring was less than optimal.


Irvaky 2008 June 26
Thanks to all, reassurance seems to be the best medicine. I will however look to change from flakes to a ground salt.

I do still question if we (as in I) in our ambitions for full Organic are becoming too obsessive? Is this really a sustainable industry. Food for thought!

I do believe my angle of questioning has taken a mamoth turn and maybe this is for another Post!

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