Salt free bread

My dad loves bread but was told he has to aggressively remove salt from his diet. I would love to bake him some flavorful, salt free loaves so he knows there is life without salt. Can anyone point me in the direction of some tasty salt free bread recipes?

  • Posted by: Sweets
  • December 22, 2012


bivs99 June 3, 2013
I’ve been making my own salt-free bread for over 10 years. It’s not hard at all, but the big challenge is getting a good flavor and texture. Most of the recipes I’ve seen take the completely wrong approach: they use a ton of yeast and the bread rises super-fast, but what you want to do is use a lot LESS and make the rising period SLOWER. This is how the flavor develops. After lots of experimentation, I’ve found that the very best flavor comes from sourdough, which takes only a couple of hours to rise when it’s salt-free. I add potassium chloride salt substitute instead of salt (about a teaspoon per 3 lb batch of dough), and it tastes great. I have posted my salt-free sourdough recipe at the King Arthur Flour Baking Circle ( under the name bivs99.
Stevie W. February 16, 2013
If its sodium that your father needs to reduce then consider potassium chloride as an alternative. See brands such as Lo Salt and Morton. Check with the doctor first. Or try incorporating more herbs - you could make him a rosemary and black olive focaccia!
Greenstuff December 23, 2012
I was also going to suggest the Tuscan breads. But the truth is that most Americans don't care for them so much at first, as they miss the salt. On the other hand, people do adapt to the taste of less salt. NPR just had a story about it the other day,
pierino February 16, 2013
The historical reason for Tuscan (and Umbrian)breads back to when salt was actually taxed. Yes really. And you know how the Italian mind works, they will do anything including risking excommunication from the Church to avoid paying a tax.
trampledbygeese December 23, 2012
Homemade bread can have considerably less salt than commercial bread. By switching to homemade bread, it might be enough to help him (depending of course on his specific situation).

Salt does help the flavour as well as effecting the yeast when baking bread. I usually use about 1/2 a tsp per loaf of (sourdough) bread, which isn't very much salt if you are only having one or two slices a day. You could probably go as low as 1/4 tsp per loaf, but it will change the time it takes to rise and the final texture of the bread.

Since there is so little salt in homemade bread, perhaps focusing on cutting salt from other sources would be more efficient for him. But of course, I don't know the details, and it's a decision you would need to make yourselves.
Linn December 23, 2012
Managing salt is important for those who are salt sensitive. People who do their own cooking generally have a lower salt intake. The most recent government recommendation sets the bar very low at 1500 mg per day for certain segments of the population. Bread definitely contains salt and your dad may need to limit the amount he eats or to try a reduced sodium bread. Unfortunately, for bread lovers, there is a significant taste difference. Salt works! If your dad craves the real thing, consider balancing the bread with something else during the course of the day to keep his running average around 1500 mg. There is a useful explanation of the problem at:
Hope this helps.

jsdunbar December 22, 2012
I am one of those that has to strictly ration my salt. It doesn't seem to change my blood pressure but I retain an enormous amount of fluid with salt intake. If I go to a restaurant for dinner I will usually be up 5 pounds (or more) the next day - purely in fluid, for which I then have to take pills to flush it out of me. I'm not a textbook case, but I am what I am. I certainly will follow up on salt-free bread.
ChefOno December 23, 2012

Thank you for reminding me there may be actual reasons to avoid sodium. I wish you well.

ChefOno December 22, 2012

If I were your father, I'd get a second opinion before cutting salt out of my life. Recent studies have shown salt does not have the negative effects we've been led to believe. Only a small percentage of the population is sensitive to salt in relation to blood pressure and, even if you're one of those few, it's actually more likely that salt will decrease your blood pressure rather than raise it.

Here's an excellent overview of the current science by a reliable source:

boulangere December 22, 2012
The principal reason for adding salt to bread is to control the growth of yeast, not necessarily to add flavor as in other foods. Salt competes more successfully for water at the cellular level, so it effectively rations the amount of water available to yeast for reproduction. You can certainly leave it out, but know that your bread is going to rise faster, so be attentive so that it doesn't over-proof.
Kenzi W. December 22, 2012
Here's a recipe I've found in the interim:
Kenzi W. December 22, 2012
I'd start your search with Tuscan breads, as they're famous for their salt-free loaves. I wonder, though, how a normal dough would behave if the teaspoon or so of salt was left out of it. We have a lot of bread experts in this community -- hopefully they'll chime in!
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