This month we'll kick off a new blog post on the last week of every month...Ask Cortney. We know you have questions about how we do things, why we do them we the way we do, etc. In this format we can take some time to fully explain the how's and why's, the science and art and the details that help you have those A-HA moments!
That's what we are always looking for, that moment when it all clicks. So now we can take more time to explain than we can take in class. We can expound on the pieces that help make it all come together in one magical moment - A-HA!!
So this month we're kicking off this new series with a question from Stacy, which came from my Salt blog last week:
I use kosher salt for almost everything now except baking. I’m still using iodized salt. ☹️ Your blog mentions that there’s a difference in salinity of certain salts and I think that must be true for me when I try to use kosher salt for baking, because if I use kosher or Diamond sea salt for baked goods, it comes out tasting too salty to me. I’m afraid to add less salt because I don’t want to mess up the whole process of the leavening reactions because it’s already hard enough to get that figured out for high altitude.
What salt (and how course/fine etc.) do you recommend for baking?
This was such a great question that I decided it needed an entire blog post. We never really talk about how salt is used in baking and why it's just as an essential ingredient in baking as in savory applications. And it is.
In fact, I sit here writing this blog surrounded by baking books for reference. In the opening they always list essential ingredients, and you know what? Salt is rarely mentioned. And even if it is, it's buried back in pages 600-800. Flours & Starches, Sugars & Sweeteners, Dairy Products, Leaveners, Cocoa & Chocolate, Nuts & Nut Products, Dried & Candied Fruits...no mention of the critical ingredient - SALT! I found one mention of the yeast/salt relationship in my treasured Joy of Cooking, but it was just one sentence.
The quick answer to Stacy's question is that I prefer to use fine kosher salt in baking. And my preference is Diamond
Crystal. Why? So, remember that aluminum anti-caking agent that we talked about last week (If you missed it, CLICK HERE)? Morton's ALSO uses it on their Kosher salt. Diamond Crystal does not. Plus, Morton's is almost twice as salty as Diamond Crystal. Mainly because their salt crystals are formed in two very different processes and when you are measuring you end up with more Morton's by weight. By volume a cup of Diamond Crystal weighs about 5 ounces, while a cup of Morton's weighs about 8 ounces. And that iodized table salt? A whopping 10 ounces.
I suggest the fine because it helps level the playing field when you are measuring. It's more comparable to table salt. And personal preference also comes into play. Sometimes our palates dictate whether to use more or less salt. Go ahead - make it your own!
As for leavening, salt does help control the leavening agent. Which is very important at our altitude. It can help control slower rising, which helps make a good structured baked good here at 6,035 feet. But a little less or more isn't likely to throw off your whole recipe. I would suggest not adjusting more than 1/4 teaspoon less/more from your recipe and see how it does. This will mainly come into play when you're using yeast, which helps level out the rise.
I hope that helps answer your question, Stacy!
If you have a question that you would like to ask please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to seeing what you cook up for me!