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I have been a sourdough baker and now I'm required to keep my sodium under 1,500 mg a day. (My body retains sodium and wastes potassium). Bread is one of the higher sodium foods. Before I start experimenting, can anyone tell me the effect of Potassium Chloride when substituted for salt in a yeast or sourdough bread recipe? Does it affect proofing? I see the Tuscan white bread recipe and will make that for now, but any relevant input is appreciated.

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    I know my sourdough can handle greatly reduced salt in bread, and I've been known to forget it in pizza dough where it only affects the flavour. Would you use pure KCl or the low sodium salt that's a mix of NaCl and KCl?
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 22 at 15:32
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    Have you tried Pane Toscano? kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/tuscan-bread-pane-toscano-recipe It's a type of bread that doesn't use salt at all. I've linked a recipe that uses instant yeast but I've made it with my starter before. Commented Mar 22 at 20:22
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    Be aware that some people on blood pressure medication are instructed to avoid foods or supplements with high potassium. It obviously doesn't apply to you, but may be relevant if you are baking for others to enjoy.
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 23 at 10:57
  • KCl as I remember is a little bitter. How much salt do you add for the whole amount, and what happens when you leave it out? Commented Mar 24 at 7:17
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    I don't know if this helps much or at all, but I have often simply added no salt at all when making bread. (I don't care about my health, but I just .. don't like salty, I like that extremely bland, stone-age feel.) I find it no different at all than any other food that typically has salt when you completely omit salt (stew, french fries, tomatoes, whatever, with zero salt). However, I am not at all an expert bread maker, and I couldn't care less about the "expert" qualities of break making (perfect look and feel, etc) - I couldn't care less about them because I can't achieve them! :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 24 at 13:09

2 Answers 2

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It's quite simple to just make low-sodium bread, without otherwise changing the recipe at all. For example, if you were using the King Arthur Sourdough Bread recipe, you could cut the salt down to 3/4 tsp or even 1/2 tsp, based on my personal experience cooking for a low-salt relative. The dough will be more sticky and hard to work with, but that's all. That would allow you to eat as much as 1/4 loaf without getting more than 300mg of salt.

While it is entirely possible to make bread with no salt at all, it does rise differently and have a slightly different texture. You'll also really notice the lack of salt, and be tempted to add more salt to your other foods to compensate.

Unfortunately, all the resources I could find on using potassium chloride were focused on commercial bread baking, and were as concerned with marketability as feasibility. However, tests show that you can replace about 1/2 your salt with potassium chloride without noticeable bad effects on the bread. It would be interesting to see if you could use more than that in bread intended just for your personal consumption.

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Oh, hello fellow traveller of the saltless seas, and well met!

I've been making bread without salt for about a year for health reasons, due to which I can't replace sodium with potassium in my chloride. To be clear, I only bake because I can't eat commercial bread since it's too high in salt for me. Baking bread is not my hobby (I already have a hobby: making cheese; and yes, I make cheese without salt) and I don't particularly care about making a spectacular sourdough loaf with a big rise and lots of holes or similar. I think that if I nurtured such grand baking ambitions I'd be disappointed but as things stand I am fine with what I get. I just want to have some bread to eat.

My recipe, as it is today:

250g organic strong white flour
200g organic wholemeal spelt flour
50g organic dark rye flour
2 (US) teaspoons of baker's dry yeast
325g water (65%)

I follow a no-knead recipe I saw online: I mix the dough thoroughly, leave it 45 minutes to autolyse (with the yeast) and then give it a few pulls and folds two times, one after 30 minutes and another after an hour. Then I wait 15 minutes, I shape my loaf and leave it to proof for an hour or so (I poke it, though I still am not sure what that tells me). I slice the top (not easy because the dough is very soft) and bake at ~230 degrees for 45 minutes with a cup of water in the oven. Sometimes I put it in an earthenware dutch oven.

The bread I bake this way doesn't rise much at the top and generally it can't keep its shape, it starts expanding outwards when I take it out of the proofing basket. I reckon I should probably play around with the moisture a bit, though when I've reduced it more than ~60% I got rather stodgy bread. The way I make it now it's pleasantly fluffy and airy in the inside, with small even-sized and evenly-spread holes. It's flavourful and doesn't taste flat, or at least it doesn't taste flat to me, but then, I'm used to eating everything without salt. Sometimes I've been really surprised by the flavours when the loaf is fresh out of the oven, particularly when I used more rye, which makes it almost sweet.

I used to bake bread with kefir instead of yeast (and still no salt). Somehow I managed to get that to rise more but I don't remember the recipe. The lactobacili and lactococci in kefir make the bread taste sour, like sourdough, and then there's the extra fat from the milk.

Anyway it's bread, I eat it and I'm happy, so it works.

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