What’s the best salt for baking?
It’s possible that you’ve never even considered the question of salt, but salt in an essential component in baking. Sure, you may only add 1/2 a teaspoon at a time to your baked goods, but don’t take salt for granted! Salt accentuates the flavor of bakes goods. It particularly enhances the flavors of butter, and flour, and salt works wonders in a recipe with chocolate!
In bread baking, salt helps the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide. Did you know that it also creates a stronger and tighter crumb.
There are three major types of salt in stores. How do you choose?
Jump on over, let’s talk salt!
Iodized Table Salt
Table salt is made by sending water down into inland salt mines and then evaporating that water until only salt crystals remain. In the 1920’s iodine was added to table salt in an effort to prevent goiters (yikes…) which were caused by an iodide deficiency. Most table salts sold in the United States are iodized.
Kosher salt is an additive free salt. It is racked during evaporation, which creates its characteristic flakes. Kosher salt comes in a course grain and a fine grain. The fine grain is great for baking, because it disperses quickly into ingredients. A course grain salt could have trouble evenly distributing through a baking recipe, and you wouldn’t want that.
Sea salt is created from evaporated sea water. The process is a bit more costly than the inland mining process of table salt, and sea salt may contain trace amounts of minerals. Because there are many seas around the world, there are many varieties of sea salt: Celtic sea salt, Hawaiian sea salt, Fleur de Sel, and Sicilian sea salt, to mention just a few. Basically, if there’s a sea, there’s a good chance it has a salt. I use a fine grain sea salt- La Baleine from France. It’s nothing terribly fancy and can be found in most grocery stores in the states.
So which salt is best for baking? I know I’m supposed to have a definitive answer for you, but really… just use whatever salt makes you feel fine and dandy. The truth of the matter- in a blind chocolate chip cookie taste test, you may not be able to taste the difference between table salt, kosher salt and sea salt. It depends on how sensitive your palate is to salt. I happen to to think that iodized table salt has a stronger salt taste. I choose sea salt because it feels like it has a cleaner salt taste that accentuates other ingredients but isn’t an assault on the taste buds.
Do you have a favorite salt?