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I've heard it said that iodized salt produces an acrid flavor when heated to high temperatures, such as for baking. Is there any truth to this?

  • If it does it isn't detectable by my tongue. – Sobachatina Jun 22 at 0:58
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TL;DR: yes, use it.

Many folks out there (my sweetie among them, so I hope she doesn't read this) claim to be able to detect an aftertaste of iodine in baked goods made with iodized salt. This is the primary reason we have non-iodized salt in the kitchen.

The reason this is highly unlikely is that salt is generally only between 1-2% of the mass of baked goods, and iodine is only 0.0045% of the mass of the salt. Which means that to taste the iodine from iodized salt, you would need to taste something that's present in only 0.05 parts per million (PPM) of the raw baked goods. For comparison, the Scoville Scale is also a dilution scale, and only pure capsaicin is detectable at that level of dilution. So it's pretty unlikely that you could tasting the iodine in the finished baked goods.

There's also the idea that the iodine could vaporize during baking and somehow affect the other ingredients. This is equally unlikely; even at 350C only 20% of the iodine vaporizes, and almost none at standard baking temperatures like 180C. And again, how much effect could 0.05ppm of iodine have?

You can work through similar exercises, but the simple truth is that iodine is present in such minute quantities that it's highly unlikely to have any adverse effects on baked goods.

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    Does iodine even have a taste? – user3169 Jun 22 at 4:14
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    0.45%.?? Normally iodine ratio is 10-40 mg per kg of salt – roetnig Jun 22 at 21:27
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    Oooh, misplaced a zero. You're right, but that makes the argument even stronger. – FuzzyChef Jun 23 at 4:31
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    While I don't know the final answer, I am not convinced by the logic applied here. The sense of "taste" actually includes both the taste buds and the olfactory sense (smell), and that is optimized for reacting to miniscule concentrations of substances. One source gives the odor threshold of elemental iodine at 0.973 ppm, but this is probably an average from many subjects, and it is unclear how to arrive at values for the salt. It is quite likely that some people can notice it. pdo.co.om/hseforcontractors/Health/Documents/HRAs/… – rumtscho Jun 24 at 14:40
  • @rumtscho good argument as always. I don't know that anyone has done a blind taste test for this, though; I couldn't find one on search. – FuzzyChef Jun 25 at 4:02

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