The Importance of Salt in Baking
Have you ever gone to a bakery, gotten super excited for the delicious chocolate chip cookie that is hiding behind the counter, to only bite into it and think, “something is missing here?” What’s missing is…. SALT! The importance of salt in baking often goes unnoted because it’s not something we usually associated with baked goods. But let me tell you. The difference between the best cookie and a subpar cookie can sometimes come down to salt. I would dare to say that every dessert needs salt. So what I am saying is salt is not only desirable, but absolutely essential. You might think since you only add 1/4 or 1/2 tsp that it would make such a difference, but it does!
Whenever I go to local bakeries in my area, I am always surprised to realize that they did not use enough salt in their baking. This is odd to me, but let’s not make the same mistakes as our more professional counterparts, shall we?
What Salt Does for Baking
So you might be thinking, “what does salt do for baking anyways? I don’t want my sweet dessert to taste salty.” No I completely agree with you. I don’t want any of my baked goods to taste salty unless they are salted caramel… Then that might be a different story ;).
The reason salt is SO important in baking is because its brings out all the other ingredients in your recipe waking up those different flavors make your goods more delicious. It creates a subtle balance and is the reason you go back for that second bite. I love sugar so don’t get me wrong, sugar is my best friend, but probably my second best friend in the kitchen is salt.
So what type of sale is the right salt for baking? Really at the end of the day, it depends on what you like because any type of salt is going to produce that balance of flavoring you want for your baked goods. Here is a breakdown of the different salts that I would recommend for baking.
Different Types of Salt
Iodized Table Salt: This is your generic table salt. Iodine was added into it to prevent iodine deficiencies back in the day. So it does have a little of that iodine flavor.
Kosher Salt: This salt is additive free, so no iodine add ins here. It has its own characteristic flaky texture and comes in course or fine grain. I recommend fine grain for baking because it disperses very well in your mix. This is my typical go to with my recipes. But not all Kosher salts are not made equal. Due to how they are made for example Morton Salt is much denser and almost twice as salt-y as Diamond Salt. Diamond Salt is preferred by professional baker so I like to follow in line with them. To use in exchange of tablet salt, double the amount with Diamond and use the same amount with Morton.
Sea Salt: I really like sea salt because there are so any different varieties! There is the
French version Fleur de Sel, then there is Celtic, Hawaiian, Sicilian Sea Salts, and many others. All of these are wonderful. Sea Salt has a nice clean salty flavor without the preservative flavoring in table salt. These types of salts have a thicker flaky texture to them so this salt is not the salt you are going to want to use to incorporate into your cookies. These would be perfect for those Salted Caramel kind of recipes though. If you are going to use sea salt in your baking, make sure it’s the fine grain and send it through your sifter with your flour to make sure it gets evenly incorporated.