Author Topic: Grinding salt improves flavor  (Read 5096 times)

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Offline chrisgraff

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Grinding salt improves flavor
« on: February 28, 2007, 01:36:48 AM »
I've been grinding my kosher salt in a (clean) coffee grinder.  Somehow made the dough twice as salty - I cut back to half of what the Raquel recipe calls for (4g, down from 9.1g).  Once I got the amount right, it seemed to be just right.

It makes no sense... the first step in the recipe is to mix the salt & water.  Yet, everytime I do this it turns out tastier.  Somebody try this...tell me I'm not crazy!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 12:15:35 AM by chrisgraff »


Offline itsinthesauce

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2007, 08:59:37 AM »
Okay, you're not crazy.

Offline BenLee

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2007, 05:34:12 PM »
This does make no sense since you weigh it out.  My inclination would have been that you when you grind the salt, it takes up less volume then regular kosher salt.  And if you are dissolving the salt in the water, it shouldn't make any difference at all.  Also, do you store you salt in a dry place?  The grinder may cause an water from the atmosphere bound to the salt to escape because I'm sure there is a lot of friction in the process of grinding it down.  That's my guess.  The fact that you dissolve the salt in the water means the original size of the granules should have no effect on the dough. 

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 06:33:07 PM »
I believe what chrisgraff is saying is that as a result of grinding his Kosher salt, he needs to use quite a bit less--by weight--than what he had been using before he started grinding the salt. Salt is hygroscopic and when finely ground, it goes into solution faster and more completely. As this very interesting article on salt states, http://www.foodproductdesign.com/archive/1994/1094AP.html:

The size and shape of the salt particle also affect the flavor. The faster the salt goes into solution, the quicker the flavor is perceived. The longer it takes to dissolve, the longer the duration of the salty flavor.

Peter

Offline itsinthesauce

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2007, 06:39:14 PM »
Well stated Pete.

Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 09:32:57 PM »
The size and shape of the salt particle also affect the flavor. The faster the salt goes into solution, the quicker the flavor is perceived. The longer it takes to dissolve, the longer the duration of the salty flavor.

Peter,

You're pulling that statement out of context.  That section of the article is dealing with flavor, so the solution the author is talking about is the saliva in your mouth.  Smaller particles of salt will dissolve more quickly in the mouth, and as a result have a stronger flavor presence.  If you're completely dissolving the salt in solution prior to mixing with other ingredients, it makes no difference what the size of the salt granules are.

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Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2007, 09:35:38 PM »
The grinder may cause an water from the atmosphere bound to the salt to escape because I'm sure there is a lot of friction in the process of grinding it down.  That's my guess.

BenLee, that's a very good guess.  It's probably the best guess that can be made in this situation.  Well done.

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Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2007, 12:13:38 AM »
I believe what chrisgraff is saying is that as a result of grinding his Kosher salt, he needs to use quite a bit less--by weight--than what he had been using before he started grinding the salt. Salt is hygroscopic and when finely ground, it goes into solution faster and more completely. As this very interesting article on salt states, http://www.foodproductdesign.com/archive/1994/1094AP.html:

The size and shape of the salt particle also affect the flavor. The faster the salt goes into solution, the quicker the flavor is perceived. The longer it takes to dissolve, the longer the duration of the salty flavor.

Peter

Very interesting.  Someone else should try this.  I literally use half the salt I used to - with better results!

Offline pkasten

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2007, 07:14:51 PM »
I do the same kosher-in-the-coffee-grinder thing for my popcorn salt.

As far as its application to pizza making, this does make sense.  The smaller particles will be more completely absorbed into your dough as it mixes, and thus, you will need less in order to perceive the same salinity in the finished product. 

Also, in bread baking, kosher salt is not preferred because the large grains cut the gluten strands as they develop, hindering structure.... so you see, this can affect not only the taste, but the texture of your dough.


paul

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2007, 07:30:10 PM »
Paul,

I frequently add salt at the end of the dough making process, in which case the particle size of the salt could make a difference in how it is absorbed into the dough. However, if I understand chrissgraff correctly, he is dissolving the salt in with the water. In that case, so long as the salt completely dissolves, the particle size shouldn't matter. Out of curiosity, after November's response above, I took some very coarse French sea salt and placed it into some water, and stirred it. It dissolved just like any other salt, without any indication of undissolved particles.

I hadn't thought about the effects of the Kosher salt on the gluten structure. That's an interesting point.

Peter


Offline pkasten

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2007, 07:53:14 PM »
heh.. i suppose it would have been prudent of me to look back at the pizza raquel recipe to see what procedure he is following.  i just assumed it would be a straight dough method. 

paul

Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2007, 09:18:31 PM »
I suppose it's possible that I previously hadn't been fully dissolving the salt.  But where does all this extra undissolved salt go?  Is pfTaylor's Raquel recipe that off the mark?  I'm telling you, 9g of (ground) salt makes a pretzel, not a pizza.  On the other hand, the same amount of unground kosher salt tastes just fine.

One of you guys prove me wrong.

Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2007, 12:29:28 AM »
I suppose it's possible that I previously hadn't been fully dissolving the salt. [...] One of you guys prove me wrong.

If it can't even be proven that you're fully dissolving the salt (based on your above statement), I don't know what you expect proof of.  Do you expect someone to go over to your house to check on how much of your salt is dissolving?  When it's dissolved, 9 grams of (pure) salt is 9 grams of salt, and it doesn't matter what form factor it came in prior to dissolving.  Chemists would have a fit if it made a difference using different solute sizes because reagents came from different suppliers.  The temperature of your water and what kind of ingredients you're using would affect the size of recrystallization, but even that won't matter in a side by side comparison if the salt is fully dissolved in either case.

Ion hydration is the reason for salt (NaCl) dissolving, and it causes the molecule to dissociate into two ions (Na+, Cl-), each surrounded by a layer of water molecules that prevent the ions from rejoining to form a crystal.  By this very reality, the proof is in the chemistry of dissolution.  If the salt is dissolved, you're dealing with ions, not crystals.

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Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2007, 12:57:47 AM »
I agree: when dissolved in water, 9 grams of salt ground, should be the same as 9 grams unground.   The only problem is my experience contradicts that logic.

Therefore:

A) my scale is broken
B) your logic is flawed
C) I'm making some other mistake (over and over again).

So if someone would be so kind as to make the Raquel dough with ground kosher salt, we can get to the bottom of this.

Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2007, 01:59:53 AM »
B) your logic is flawed

I don't understand how this became my logic.  This is textbook Chemistry.  I would provide additional suggestions that could narrow down the source of the discrepancy, but I get the impression you would rather keep believing in your anomalous results.  As for your challenge to others, I don't see how replicating an anomaly will be useful to anyone when there are so many routes to that anomaly.  If someone else just happened to get the same results, it doesn't prove that the reason was the same.  It would be more productive to resolve why you are getting those results.

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Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2007, 03:45:15 AM »
For the curious mind, you can measure relative ionic strength with an ohmmeter/multimeter.  For the purposes of this discussion, I tested 9g of kosher salt in 340g of water.  The test:

Materials:
500 mL beaker, polycarbonate
multimeter
340 g @ 41 F water, carbon filtered
9 g salt, kosher

Procedure:
I affixed the two multimeter leads exactly 8.5 cm apart and immersed 0.5 cm in the solution.  As a control, I began by measuring the electrical resistance of the filtered water alone.  After dumping the salt into the solution, I measured the electrical resistance again.  I then proceeded with a cycle of stirring the solution for ten seconds, taking a reading, and then repeating until the electrical resistance stopped dropping.

Results:
32.56 kOhms, control (no salt)
25.01 kOhms, before stirring
 5.57 kOhms, after stirring 10 s
 4.85 kOhms, after stirring 20 s
 4.79 kOhms, after stirring 30 s
 4.79 kOhms, after stirring 40 s

Conclusion:
Unless someone barely stirred the salt they're trying to dissolve, far more than half of the ionic strength is available after just 10 seconds of stirring.  I even used the coldest water anyone would potentially use in the case of making dough.  The rate of dissolution would be even faster if the water were warmer.

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Offline scpizza

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2007, 10:30:37 AM »
Maybe your grinder is contaminated with pepper, oil, prior salt, or the like.  November is simply stating basic principles of chemistry.  Once fully dissolved in water it makes absolutely no difference what was the original salt particle size.

Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2007, 11:32:30 PM »
No grinder contamination, not to mention that I weighed the salt post grind.

As soon as I get my hands on a multi-meter, I'll be sure try that little experiment of November's.  It's too bad he didn't just mix up a second bowl using ground salt.   ;)

Offline November

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2007, 01:31:07 AM »
I weighed the salt post grind.

That certainly plays into the theory of heat generated by the grinding driving off moisture.

It's too bad he didn't just mix up a second bowl using ground salt.

I'll leave that up to the people who want to disprove basic principles of chemistry.  If I did perform the same test with ground salt, and the results were the same, would you believe me?

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Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Grinding salt improves flavor
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2007, 09:25:24 PM »
I'll leave that up to the people who want to disprove basic principles of chemistry.  If I did perform the same test with ground salt, and the results were the same, would you believe me?

- red.november

Sure I would.  I'm just trying to get down to the bottom of this.

I would like to restate my original intent for this thread: grinding salt alters the perception of saltiness in the final product.

I am pretty certain that pfTaylor's recipe is correct.  The first five or six times I made the recipe, it turned out perfectly.  Only the last three times have I ground the salt.  Once with the original amount from the recipe (9 grams); two other times with half the amount.  Those last three attempts confirmed to me that grinding the salt has some effect.

Perhaps there is another explanation for this, outside of contradicting chemistry principles.



That said, I am certain that pfTaylor's recipe is correct.  I am also certain that I followed the very closely.  The last three batches of dough have supported
« Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 09:49:55 PM by chrisgraff »


 

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