I've been baking bread on and off during the last two years. Now, finally, I found a nice recipe. It calls for 2% of salt (20gr per kg of flour). It gives a tasty bread.

On the other hand, the health service recommends using less salt in bread, but I don't know the recommendation, nor the tastefulness of the recommended bread... (that's a lot of recommends in one sentence).

So, what is the recommendation and does it produce a decent bread?

  • 3
    What is "the health service"? There are numerous health authorities in each country around the world. Each of them can make a recommendation, no way to know which one you heard. Second, a blanket recommendation is suspicious in itself - how do they know how much bread do you eat? Third, there is no clear-cut definition for "decent bread".
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 15:14
  • +1 You're ever so right in all aspects. We're talking about the Spanish health authorities. Apparently the bakers are using less salt now than a couple of years ago. The current bread is pretty tasteless. 'Decent' according to my taste of course... My bad. Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


With all due respect to them, the health service doesn't have to eat the results of their recommendation. Bread without salt is nigh-inedible, and the salt isn't just for flavor. Reducing it also hurts the texture.

To quote On Food and Cooking (page 535): "Though some traditional breads are made without salt, most include it, and not just for a balanced taste. At 1.5%-2% of the flour weight, salt tightens the gluten network and improves the volume of the finished loaf."

This means that a less-salted loaf will be denser and less chewy, and an unsalted one even more so. Now, you can knead more to compensate for reduced gluten development, but it still won't be as good. Having baked and eaten bread without salt due to a hung-over cook forgetting to add it to the dough, I can confirm the changes in texture. It also seems to rise differently and overproof faster.

Oh, and it also tasted like cardboard. But again, the health service doesn't have to eat the results of their recommendation. I could go on an hour-long tirade about the culinary atrocities committed in an effort to reduce sodium.

  • At 2% this bread is really nice. Thanks for the answer. Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 21:57
  • FYI - much traditional Tuscan bread (actually made in Italy, not something called "Tuscan" you buy in another country) is made without salt. I've had a lot of it and it can have a good texture and even some interesting flavor, though obviously much different from most breads that contain salt. It is often dipped in or spread with ingredients or sauces that are quite salty though, which make up for that "absent" flavor. However, the texture, done properly, can be very good.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 2:38

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