Is there a way to reduce or omit salt in baking recipes?

Share story

Q: Is there a way to reduce or omit salt in baking recipes? If salt is omitted, what is the impact on the baked goods?

A: In bread recipes, salt strengthens the gluten, the protein strands that help to form the structure. It also enhances shelf life, keeping bread from going stale as quickly.

A little salt makes sweet things taste sweeter. Cutting out the salt completely would mean the cake or cookie wouldn’t taste as sweet.

But there is such a small amount of salt in baked goods and most home cooking, cutting it out won’t remove that much sodium from your diet. And if the flavors aren’t as satisfying, you could end up eating more.

The real culprit in America’s high sodium intake is processed foods. Frozen and packaged foods, condiments, canned foods, fast food and chain-restaurant food all tend to be high in sodium. If you cut those foods and do most of your cooking from scratch, you’ll consume a lot less salt even if you leave the salt in the recipes alone.