When to add salt to bread dough?

I've use Joe Ortiz' book "The Village Baker" for about 10 years. On
some of his recipes, he specifies that salt should be added as the
final ingredient during kneading.
I find this awkward, and I've never noticed a difference between
adding the salt at the end or during the mixing of the dough. Plus, I
wonder if the salt gets mixed properly throughout the dough.
Does anyone know what is accomplished by adding the salt last? Has
anyone tested both methods and been able to detect a difference?
Thanks.
Reply to
Parker
Parker,
Salt toughens gluten. By adding it at the end, you are mixing a softer dough for most of the duration of the mixing. This can mean that you are putting less strain on the machine (or your arms); it can mean that the heat rise due to mixing is reduced, too; and it can mean that mixing is more thorough, I suppose. Both of these potential differences depend on the hydration level of the dough and would, presumably, be more pronounced in lower-hydration doughs.
I'm not sure that any of this matters at all unless you are mixing by hand, though; and even then the effect is minimal in my opinion.
Dick
Reply to
Dick Margulis
I always put the salt in last and there are never any undissolved salt crystals or salty streaks. You do realize that you will still have to finish kneading when you put the salt in? It isn't like you throw the salt on top of the finished dough and leave it at that. You simply do all of your mixing and most of your kneading and then when you have a little bit of kneading left to do, you add the salt. This applies to regular table salt and fine sea salt--not kosher or specialty salts that have a larger grain. There is a far greater danger of mishap by adding flour late in the mix or on the bench than there is by adding a little bit of water soluble, fine-grained salt. Dough is a very wet environment. Janet
Reply to
Janet Bostwick
In message , Parker writes
I have the same book and have tested both methods. I have noticed no difference at all and neither has my husband when I have given him blind taste tests. It's a small sample and therefore not conclusive, but in this household, I add the salt during the mixing because it is so much easier that way. I knead all of my bread by hand, by the way.
When to add salt reminds me of cookery book in which the author swore that all flour should be heated in a low oven before mixing. I tried it, but it made no difference except that it made the bread-making process longer.
Reply to
divine_austerlitz
Hi: More experienced bakers than I are likely to chime in on this . . . But I could swear that I've read (and heard in baking shows) that salt can possibly damage the lives of our friendly living yeast. So best to get our friends fully awake and wheezing at top performance before adding salt. Nathan
Reply to
Nathan Thomas
I've always heard that it goes in when the dough is mixed, because, in a given recipe, the balance of yeast vs. salt is designed to give the proper amount of rise for that recipe.
Having said that, I'm not an experienced bread-maker!
Reply to
Alan Moorman

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