The salty conundrum facing bakeries
Reducing sodium has long been a nutritional concern. Even though it’s an essential nutrient, the human body needs a relatively small amount, and most Americans well exceed the daily recommended amount of sodium.
“As modern consumers are becoming more health-conscious, especially in their sodium intake, brands are increasingly launching low-sodium or reduced-sodium products to address these needs,” said Mona Clifford, application technologist, sweet flavors, at Sensient Flavors.
Sodium is most often associated with sodium chloride — also known as table salt. It is probably the most obvious starting point when it comes to slashing sodium. However, bakers need to be aware of the hits that may come to their finished product if they take out too much salt to reach sodium targets.
In bread, salt enhances flavor and controls the fermentation rate by limiting enzyme activity in the dough as it rises.
“The latter strengthens the gluten structure and traps the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation, providing better texture and volume to the bread,” Ms. Clifford said. “Without salt, the bread will continue to rise during fermentation, and the flavor will become bland.”