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Hi, question about Emiko Davies' panettoni, there's no salt; i'm used to adding a pinch of salt to all my baked goods, any idea why this recipe doesnt

https://food52.com/blog... - also the butter, is it unsalted?

asked by Manal 11 months ago
9 answers 379 views
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added 11 months ago

A better question might be why you do. Not that you're by any means alone, but it's really a bad habit .

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QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added 11 months ago

oldunc, care to explain why it is a bad habit? I was taught that some form of salt is essential to opening up flavors in both savory and sweet dishes. You do not taste it, but it makes a difference. Plus the other way it affects the chemistry of the dough in baked goods. Can you provide more details for your point of view?

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 11 months ago

My point of view is that the indiscriminate adding of ingredients poorly serves both the science and the art of cooking. Nothing against the person who asked the question, but you should be able to see a recipe not including salt without thinking there is anything wrong with it. Salt actually has little effect on baked goods other than to make them taste salty; theories that it somehow controls yeast just don't bear up to trial. Short of an extended essay on the mechanisms of evolution in modern man and the influence of commercial propaganda on peoples' thought processes it would be difficult to analyze the massive overreliance on fats, sugars and salts in the modern diet of developed countries; I will leave it that the indiscriminate addition of salt to dishes that really don't need- and it's overuse in others- is pervasive, pernicious and self perpetuating.

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sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 11 months ago

I have found several Italian bread and baked goods recipes that don't use salt, I have looked at several other recipes for panettone and salt is used. I am sure this one is delicious without but don't think it would hurt to add a pinch, I also always add at least a pinch of salt to what I bake. I would assume the butter is unsalted but you are right it doesn't specify. It's usual to use unsalted butter unless otherwise called for.

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added 11 months ago

I would have to disagree- in this day and age, baking something without salt represents a definite statement, and adding it will change the dish materially. It's unlikely to render it inedible, but if you do it, you should be conscious that you are not making the same thing. You see this a lot in comments on bread recipes- people will decide that the dough is too sticky and add some flour, or that it should be kneaded more, or that it needs salt- all of these things are central to the character of the product. Of course, it's always possible that it was an oversight in the recipe, but as a rule, it's best- out of respect for the writer, if nothing else- to try recipes unaltered first.

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added 11 months ago

I too was taught that a pinch of salt helps bring out flavours, so just wanted to see if anyone had a good explanation as to why it was omitted. No disrespect to the writer, but not all recipes are created equal! Thank you QueenSashy and sdebrango for answering, much appreciated. @oldunc, I use salt very very sparingly, but with baking, it's all chemistry... flavours do play off each other, no? Consider melon wrapped with prosciutto!

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added 11 months ago

Sure, flavors play off each other, but they don't always have to be the same ones; if you eat salt in everything you will miss it; it's by far the easiest flavor to detect and quantify, but it's a conditioned reaction to think that it SHOULD be there. You could, for example, put Ancho chile powder in everything you cook; it's hard to imagine anything it would ruin, it would deepen the flavor of most dishes, help catch your attention etc., the same things that salt can do. Sometimes clarity is just better. You might decide to put salt (or Ancho chile, or black pepper....) in everything, but it should be a decision, not a dogma or knee jerk reaction.

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added 11 months ago

I disagree with the statement that salt does not affect the efficacy of yeast. We baked a lot of salt free bread at the same time as we made "normal" bread when my mother was pregnant with her fifth child. It rose more quickly than the bread with salt and had a coarser crumb.

609271d6 306e 4b3e 8479 9d404fb84e73  moi 1
QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added 11 months ago

When in doubt, turn to science and Harold McGee. Salt is included into the ingredients that contribute to the structure of doughs, batters and their products. Very detailed explanation on its effect on gluten network on pages 524-525, together with recommended quantities for various types of baking products...