I have a sourdough bread recipe that calls for either Real Salt or unrefined salt. I do not have either of these and I’m not sure if these salts are fine or coarse. I have Himalayan pink salt coarse for grinding, coarse kosher salt & Morton’s iodized salt.

Are any of these comparable?


4 Answers 4


This may come across as a little cynical ;)

Don't believe the hype.
Salt is salt.

The difference between Himalayan, iodised & kosher is so small you'll never taste it. They're all 98%+ sodium chloride. To a 1Kg loaf you're going to add something like 10g salt.

As it will completely dissolve before you bake it, not even the granule size is important.

  • 6
    For baking, this is absolutely correct. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 18:43
  • 3
    There is a difference in flavor between kosher and regular iodized table salt, in that kosher is much less "salty" in flavor. (Generally allowing you to more finely tune the flavor). In regular cooking, if you're used to kosher and thus using considerably more of it, you'll end up making things way too salty if you switch to table salt. I don't bake much, so couldn't tell you what effect it has on sourdough. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 20:32
  • 14
    @DarrelHoffman Isnt that just because small salt crystals pack better than some of the big ones so you get more salt per unit volume with "regular"?
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 1:28
  • 4
    @Deleted - As a chemist I don't believe that the amount of iodide added to salt would significantly change any chemical reactions in baking. // Iodine is a necessary trace element for humans. That is why it is added to table salt.
    – MaxW
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 20:01
  • 2
    @MaxW As a biologist, I 100% know that they could significantly affect the behaviour of the wild yeast and sourdough bacteria. As far as I know this happens to not be the case for iodine in sourdough bread. But that’s pure luck, not because it’s biologically implausible. And if you substituted iodine with other “innocuous” compounds in the same quantity you might see a large effect. Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 14:22

Any salt will do. The trick is figuring how much salt. If a formula is based on a specific salt, and you switch, you need to adjust. For example this author did a comparison. She weighed 1 level Tablespoon of various salts and found:

Iodized table salt 14g.
Fine grind Himalayan pink salt 12g.
French Fleur de Sel 11g.
Sardinian Black fior di sale 9 g.
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes 7g.
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 6g.

You need to adjust for this difference if using volumetric measures. Best to use a scale.

  • 3
    That may be why all bread I make following one recipe turns out unbearable salty. (I have reduced to half the amount and it is good to my taste now.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 18:03
  • 15
    Volumetric measures are terrible for that very reason. Any decent bread baking recipe should avoid those. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:38
  • 1
    Thank you for that very valuable piece of info! I truly had no idea! I’ll be saving this handy chart for all my baking!
    – Phyllis
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 20:14
  • 2
    @Phyllis Just switch to metric mass units. Much more practical.
    – Nobody
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 9:36
  • 2
    @Nobody: Note that the average American does not own a kitchen scale (although "I want to bake some bread" is a pretty good reason to go out and buy one). Recipes, particularly for other forms of cooking, are almost always given in volume (with US customary units, of course).
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 19:33

Himalayan salt is not really from the Himalayas, but from the Salt Range, which is nearby -not exactly 'Himalayan snow melt' (in fact an underground salt deposit from a sea that dried up hundreds of millions of years ago).

It has a bunch of impurities (or 'minerals'), which make it pink. It had no commercial value until recently when it became popular for Instagram. That's the value. It looks good in photos.

Salt is iodized for public health reasons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodised_salt#In_public_health_initiatives

Kosher salt is coarse and lacks iodine. It's for koshering meat, but the coarseness is good for some purposes (rubbing on meat). In the UK you can't buy it very easily, but you can buy coarse salt that's functionally identical (in that it's coarse and salt).

All work the same way. A fine salt and a coarse salt is handy to have. And a scale with at least 0.1g resolution to accurately measure them. Any time you are dissolving the salt, they are all identical, just make sure to weigh them - measuring cups and measuring spoons are bad.


My understanding is that within some communities, it is believed that iodized salts slows down or kills the microbes.

This is not true, which has been shown a couple of times: studying sauerkraut and studying fermented cucumbers.

  • 3
    But it does help your thyroid if your diet is otherwise deficient in iodine (e.g. you don't eat any seafood)
    – tdavies
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 12:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.