Author Topic: My First Pizza - Please Help  (Read 3170 times)

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Offline hammettjr

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My First Pizza - Please Help
« on: March 19, 2011, 05:49:10 PM »
Hi Everyone, This forum is amazing.  I began my low-salt diet a few months ago (I expected turning 30 would have its drawbacks, but didn't expect this) and you have been a great resource in helping me on my quest to make a great low-salt pizza. 

This was actually my 3rd homemade pizza (not counting the many I made as a child with 'gold medal' dough), but it was my first using a pizza stone, KA flour and allowing the dough to rise in the fridge overnight. I am definitely improving, though I thought you may comment on a few of my assumptions, mishaps and future plans.

My dough recipe is from the book that came with my Zo bread machine. I make two 12 inch pizzas from:  1 3/4 Cups KA Flour, 5/8 Cup of water, 3/4 tbsp olive oil, 3/4 tbsp sugar and about 3/4 of a packet of fleishmans pizza yeast. (I omitted the salt).  I followed a few suggestions regarding the Zo bread machine from Pete-zza and used cold water and took the dough out as soon as it looked ready. I lightly covered the dough in olive oil (I think this was a mistake and that I should have lightly oiled the bowl) then placed it in a bowl, covered it in plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge.

The next day I let the dough sit out for 2 hours, I then stretched it a bit (for the first time my dough actually felt like pizza dough) then used a roller to finish it.  I brushed a bit of olive oil on the crust and let it sit for 20 minutes.  I added my sauce and cheese.  For cheese I used Sargento low-sodium shredded mozzarella, and two small mozzarella balls (as a test).  Given my sodium situation, I limit myself to 1/2 cup of cheese per sitting. I spread the 1/2 cup over a 12 inch pizza.

My pampered chef pizza stone was heated in a gas oven at 550 for 45 minutes.  After getting the pizza from my peel to the stone (it was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be) I noticed the cheese bubbling very quickly.  My pizza cooked for a total of only 4 minutes and the shredded mozzarella was completely burnt, and the crust was burnt as well. I could hold the entire pizza with one hand like the crust was stiff as a board. (See the photo where I’m showing the bottom.) The bit of fresh mozzarella, however, was not burnt – it was excellent. I also noticed the crust under the fresh mozzarella was much less burnt.
Next time I want to make two pizzas. For one, I hope to buy Grande whole-milk shredded mozzarella. I’m hoping that Grande’s richness and oiliness will improve my pizza given I’m only using ½ cup of cheese.  For a second pizza I plan to use the fresh mozzarella given the bit of success I had this time.

My main question is, why did my pizza burn so quickly? I’m considering turning the oven down next time, but that seems to go against most of what I’m reading on the forum.  Does the amount of cheese have a large impact on how the crust cooks? I’m guessing it does given that the crust of my pizza seemed better in the few places I used the fresh cheese that didn’t burn.  Any advice or suggestions to help me make a low sodium pizza would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks,
Matt


Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 06:42:31 PM »
So when getting the cooking time right I've found there are a few variables, mainly the top of the crust, the bottom of the crust, and the cheese. You need to apply equal heat to the bottom and top of the pizza which can be tricky sometimes, but looking at your pizza it doesn't appear to be a huge problem. The cheese can be difficult because you need to portion the size of your fresh cheese relative to how quick your pizza cooks, bigger pieces for longer cook times and smaller for shorter. When I don't do this my cheese will burn.

It would seem to me your situation shouldn't be too hard to fix. I would give you things things to try for now-
1. Just cook your pizza shorter, it seemed everything was overcooked sorta equally, so just check the pizza at 3 min next time.
2. Don't use a rolling pin, you're really ruining the crumb. Just do it by hand so air can get out and and make a nice cornicone.
3. Get a scale and start using weights instead of measuring cups. You will never be able to hone in on a perfect recipe for yourself without one. It seems to me things like 5/8 cups of water is difficult enough as it is.

Thats it, hope some part helps.

Jeff

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 07:16:18 PM »
Matt,

I have not tried the Fleischmann's pizza yeast (I have not seen it in the supermarkets near me as yet), but I believe your problem stems from the lack of salt. Salt serves multiple functions in a dough, including developing a strong gluten structure to retain the gases of fermentation, and controlling yeast fermentation (through osmotic activity) and the enzymes that convert damaged starch to sugars. It also impedes the performance of the protease enzymes that attack the gluten structure and softens the dough and releases water from its bond. You can read more about what happens when you omit salt in a dough in the King Arthur salt article at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/salt.html. You might also want to read the article on salt at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8764.msg75936/topicseen.html#msg75936.

Not ever having made a salt-free dough, I am not sure what to advise you to do at this point. However, my instincts and knowledge of how salt works in a dough tell me that you may want to switch to using instant dry yeast (IDY, also sold as bread machine yeast in supermarkets) and use much less of it than you used with the Fleishmann's pizza yeast. I could not quickly locate how much a packet of Fleischman's pizza yeast weighs but if it is 7 grams (0.25 oz.), as are the packets for ADY and IDY, 3/4 of that packet would, by my estimation, come to about 2.4% of the flour weight. That would let the yeast run wild and go off the rails.

You can also use active dry yeast (ADY), if properly hydrated. But, whichever alternative form of yeast you decide to use, you might want to use some salt in the dough, maybe 1-1.25%, and omit the salt in the pizza sauce and use low-sodium cheese. I think I would go this route rather than trying to modify your baking protocol. We can address that issue if the above recommendations do not work.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 12:27:36 PM by Pete-zza »

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 07:35:26 PM »
http://www.lowsodiumcooking.com/free/BasicPizzaDough.htm
Tonight's dough, no salt. Done it before. I am cutting way back on yeast as all I have is IDY. Hasta manana.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 07:55:13 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline hammettjr

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 08:17:06 PM »
Thank you Jeff, Peter and Buceriasdon!
Peter, thank you for your advice.  I think I need to completely avoid using salt in the dough to reach my current target of 300mg of sodium in the entire pizza.  You are correct – Fleishmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast is 7 grams per packet.  I thought this was IDY, though it sounds like I need to buy a new yeast.  How much IDY should I try using? Buceriasdon’s link is to a website I use quite a bit.  What do you think of the recipe? (2t ADY, 3.5 cups flour, 1.5 cups water, 2t honey, 2T olive oil). Is it possible that the honey would help control the yeast in the absence of salt?

Buceriasdon, I just saw that you plan on making a salt-free dough tonight, thank you! Please let me know how it turns out!

Thanks,
Matt
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 08:21:50 PM by hammettjr »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 08:48:24 PM »
Matt,

I perhaps should have asked you what kind of crust characteristics you are looking for. If you leave out the salt from the dough, you will most likely end up with something that is edible but it is unlikely to be a crust with a soft crumb. It may be a chewy or cracker-like crust without a lot of texture. If you use a lot of water to make the dough and you have a really hot stone to bake the pizza, the moisture in the dough might expand to give some depth to the pizza, maybe like a pita dough expanding. That might be the best you can hope for. Maybe the large amount of yeast is intended to give the dough a lot of volume.

With respect to the recipe that Don referenced, it is hard to say what kind of crust it will produce. I am always skeptical of Internet recipes that seem to defy the laws of chemistry and physics, particularly if a crust with normal characteristics is desired or expected, but not having personally made a salt-free pizza crust, I don't have a good idea as to what the finished crust will be like. The description of the pizza at the website that Don referenced does not say what the finished crust looks like. I believe the honey is more for crust coloration, through the Maillard reactions and caramelization. It will also feed the yeast although the conversion of starch to sugars should also serve to feed the yeast. I don't believe that the honey is used as a salt substitute.

Before commenting further, I would rather wait to see what Don produces with his salt-free dough. In the meantime, can you tell me what type of KA flour you are using?

Peter
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 08:57:41 PM by Pete-zza »

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 09:10:39 PM »
I decided to use what here is called Integral flour blended with cake flour and use no sugar or salt in the dough. In for a penny, in for a pound. Integral if I understand the term is 100% of the grain milled. I have no expectations other than to create a healthier pizza dough. We'll see how it turns out. Sunday is Farmer's Market here with organic produce for sale.
100g. Integral
100g. cake
1t olive oil
1/4t IDY
Don

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 09:32:45 PM »
Don,

After I posted, I wondered how I might approach a salt-free dough starting from scratch. I saw two possibilities. One is to use a very high hydration dough, maybe something around 70-75%, and do several stretch and folds to develop the gluten structure so that it can better hold whatever gases of fermentation would be produced. I would use a lot of yeast to get more gas production, and I would use some honey to feed the yeast and provide crust coloration. Oil might also be used, as indicated in the recipe you referenced. The dough would be used almost like an emergency dough, with a room temperature fermentation of a few hours. The pizza would be baked on a very hot stone in order to get a good oven spring. In lieu of hand kneading and stretch and folds, possibly Matt's bread maker can fully develop the gluten structure in the dough in a comparable manner.

The second possibility that occurred to me is to use a poolish in the context of a high hydration dough, with the objective of strengthening the gluten structure using the acids of the poolish preferment. Again, a lot of yeast would be used, either in the poolish or final mix, or even both, and, again, the dough would be used on a same day basis. A possible dough that might be modified for this purpose is JerryMac's NY style dough at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.msg49940.html#msg49940.

After pondering this matter, I went back to the recipe you referenced. Since the ingredients are given in volume measurements, it is hard to accurately convert to baker's percents. However, 1 1/2 cups of water for 3 1/2 cups of bread flour represents a high hydration dough. The yeast quantity is perhaps over 1.5%. The pre-baking of the crust may be to give some structure to the crust in a standard home oven before dressing and finishing the bake. A 15-minute bake time seems like a lot but it may be needed to develop crust coloration.

Peter


Offline hammettjr

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 10:25:19 PM »
Hi Peter and Don,
To answer Peter's two questions: I think the easiest way for me to describe the crust I'm looking for would be to tell you that I've been living in New York for about 8 years and I'd love to recreate the pizza I used to get down the street from me. It's a typical New York pizza - thin, greasy and if I didn't use two hands I'd have a stain on my shirt. (While I occasionaly ate 'bar pies' that were cracker-like, that is not what I'm looking for.) The KA flour I am using is "unbleached bread flour". The first ingredient is "unbleached hard spring wheat flour".

Thanks,
Matt

Offline chickenparm

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 12:48:17 AM »
Matt,

I make homemade NY style pizzas using KABF(King Arthur Bread flour).I would not have been able to get this far without being on this forum for a while.These guys are the best,and with their help,I get better all the time.
 :)

I tend to use 2% sea salt added,but your post here,Im going to make a dough with NO salt added this week.

Might be a few days,but will do it,and see how it turns out.I would really like to know if it can be done with similar results,or whatever we can learn from it.

My current Ny style is not as large as some of the slices you get in NY,since they can make 18+ inch pies with ease and sell them by the slice,which are usually very large and thin.

Im stuck at 15-16 inch pies due to my stone or pan size.I have made many pies over the last year,just click on my user name and check out my threads I made in the NY style section.

Also,here is a link to my photobucket account,for an example.I have more pics on there if you choose to look.

http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff479/BillsPizza86/Loving%20the%20NY%20style/

Hope this also helps put you on the right track to achieving your goals or better.Im still learning as I go and these folks on here are a godsend for info.
 :)
-Bill


Offline hammettjr

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2011, 10:49:47 AM »
Hi Bill,
Thank you so much for planning to make a salt-free dough this week. I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate everyone’s help.  It is clear from reading the forum that this is a great group of individuals with an impressive wealth of knowledge, attention to detail, and passion for pizza. Equally impressive is everyone’s willingness to help others.   I too am limited by a 15 inch pizza stone and do not plan on making 18 inch pizzas anytime soon.  Your pictures on photobucket are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Each photo stunned me more than the previous one (#13 was incredible).  Thanks again to everyone, I look forward to your replies, to the countless hours of learning I have in front of me, and to next weekend when I make my next pizza!

Thanks,
Matt

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2011, 11:38:54 AM »
Good morning, I thought with the coarse Integral flour that my chilled dough with a 1/4tsp. IDY would not have much rise, however upon this morning's inspection I found the ball had close to tripled in size.  :o Oops, should have used less. I'm going to do a punch down and shoot for an early afternoon bake. The dough may overproof.  Hasta luego.
Don

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2011, 11:42:23 AM »
Matt,

Even under the best of circumstances, including the use of salt, you will have a real challenge trying to emulate a commercial NY style pizza in your home oven without using a special stone and other measures, and assuming also that you can get over the no-salt hurdle. However, it is helpful to know the style of pizza you are targeting.

I went back and studied more carefully the two recipes mentioned in this thread--the one you used and the one Don referenced. I did a few math calculations and used the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ and the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html to come up with baker's percent versions of the two recipes. For the first recipe you used, I got the following:

King Arthur Bread Flour* (100%):
Water (66.847%):
Fleischmann's Pizza Yeast (2.4606%):
Olive Oil (1.56230%):
Sugar (1.3841%):
Total (172.254%):
216.03 g  |  7.62 oz | 0.48 lbs
144.41 g  |  5.09 oz | 0.32 lbs
5.32 g | 0.19 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.76 tsp | 0.59 tbsp
3.37 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.75 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
2.99 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.75 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
372.12 g | 13.13 oz | 0.82 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: Nominal thickness factor = 0.11606 if total dough is used to make one 12" pizza or 0.05803 if used to make two 12" pizzas
*Measured out using the Textbook flour Measurement Method as defined in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator

As you will note from the above, I assumed that you measured out the flour using the Textbook method of flour measurement, which is the method that Zojirushi recommends in its recipe/instruction booklets. On that basis, the hydration of the dough would be almost 67%. Depending on how carefully and accurately you measured out 3/4 cup of water, the actual hydration value could be higher or lower. I can only assume that your Zo was able to handle the actual hydration value you used.

It wasn't entirely clear to me from your first post whether you used a single dough ball, with an estimated weight of 13.13 ounces, to make just one 12" pizza or two 12" pizzas. If you used that amount of dough to make just one 12" pizza, then I calculated a thickness factor of 0.11606, as noted above. That would be more than what is typically used to make a NY street style dough (a value of around 0.085-0.10 would be fairly typical). If you made two 12" pizzas, then the calculated thickness factor would be 0.05803, as also noted above. That would fall into cracker crust territory, not NY street style territory.

I also went through the same drill with the recipe that Don referenced. That recipe is silent as to how specifically the flour is measured out, so there is no way to know how accurate the conversion of that recipe to baker's percent format will be. However, assuming that the flour (I am assuming KABF) is measured out using the Textbook flour Measurement Method as defined in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator, I came up with the following:

King Arthur Bread Flour* (100%):
Water (79.7404%):
ADY (1.73939%):
Olive Oil (6.21212%):
Honey (3.21788%):
Total (190.90979%):
434.63 g  |  15.33 oz | 0.96 lbs
346.58 g  |  12.23 oz | 0.76 lbs
7.56 g | 0.27 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2 tsp | 0.67 tbsp
27 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs | 6 tsp | 2 tbsp
13.99 g | 0.49 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2 tsp | 0.67 tbsp
829.76 g | 29.27 oz | 1.83 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: Dough can make two 12" pizzas, with a nominal thickness factor of 0.129395.
*Measured out using the Textbook flour Measurement Method as defined in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator

I would describe the above dough formulation as one that will produce a very high hydration, slightly thinner version of a Papa John's pizza. It would not represent a NY style. It is also not clear whether your Zo can handle a hydration of almost 80%, although a dough batch weight of almost 30 ounces may work better than a smaller amount of dough.

As an additional hydration calculation, I went back to the recipe that Don referenced and redid the hydration calculation on the assumption that the flour in that recipe is measured out using a Medium flour Measurement Method, such as scooping flour out of a container. On this basis, the hydration value becomes around 70.76%. That would seem to be a more workable number for your Zo but I have not tried such a hydration value myself to know if it is a good number or a bad number.

At this point, you have several options. If you want to use either of the above recipes, they can be scaled to whatever size pizza and/or crust thickness you want. Of course, if you want to see how Don and Bill make out with their experiments, you can wait before making a decision on a recipe. However, both recipes are intended to produce what I call emergency, or short-term, doughs. Such doughs will usually produce crusts that do not have a lot of flavor, and maybe not a lot of color (although the use of honey will help), because it takes a fair amount of time for the byproducts of fermentation to be produced. Most of the flavor will come from using high amounts of yeast and, if used, sugar or honey, especially if used in large quantities, such as in the recipe that Don referenced.

Peter


 

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2011, 01:50:07 PM »
Well rats! There was a price tag on the bag of Integral flour that I just peeled off covering part of the Nutritional Information printing. This flour has salt in it!  :o .5mg. from what I can make out. The dough has been out of the fridge for two hours. Pictures of the finished pizza using 1/2cup Asadero cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil. Quite tasty, I liked it.
Don

« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 02:41:22 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2011, 02:54:48 PM »
Don,

From all of the reverse engineering projects I have conducted, and all the flour specs and nutrition labels I have examined, I have learned where all the bodies are hidden. In this case, I am willing to bet that the 0.5mg sodium is from the flour itself, and that no salt was added. FYI, 0.5mg sodium is equivalent to 0.00022 teaspoons of ordinary table salt. You can see some of the sodium levels of King Arthur flours at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/nutritional-analysis-bakery-flour.html.

Can you tell me how much flour you are using for your dough?

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2011, 02:57:28 PM »
Don,

You apparently were editing your post to add photos as I was composing my post.

Can you describe the characteristics of both the dough at different stages and the final crust?

Peter
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 02:59:01 PM by Pete-zza »

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 03:22:27 PM »
Peter, 200 grams 50/50 blend cake flour and Integral flour, both are bromated. 124 grams bottled water, 62% hydration. Perhaps a bit more than a tablespoon Olive Oil and 1/4 teaspoon IDY. I made the dough in the early evening, I mixed 3/4 of the flour with all the water and let it set for an hour then added the rest of the flour, oil and yeast and mixed again. Kneaded for three minutes and into the fridge. One can easily see I made an effort to stay away from the rim when shaping. It had no spring back what so ever, the dough was very supple and workable. Much more flavor than what I can get with Mexican AP flour. Baked in my LBE at 650 for four and a half minutes.
Don

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 03:43:51 PM »
Don,

Thank you.

Using 1/4 teaspoon IDY for 200 grams of flour comes to about 0.376%. That is not a lot to cause a dough to about triple in volume while under refrigeration.

You seem to have some curious flours in Mexico. I have heard of bleached cake flour but never bromated cake flour or whole wheat flour.

Peter

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 04:46:00 PM »
Peter, I researched more based on your post and it's likely I misunderstood what azodicarbonamida is. It appears to be an antihistamine.
Thanks. I don't know what it's purpose is in the flour and can't find any info on the net. I have been told by two baker friends that all flour here is bromated but not labled as such so I am operating from verbal data. Most flours I would call a cake flour is labeled Extra Fina. Most packages have recipes for hotcakes on the back. The protein is around 9.7 grams, much the same as the AP here. The Integral is listed as 13.2 grams the highest I've seen here and one of the reasons I used it for this experiment. I'm very interested in seeing what others come up with using no salt. I will repeat of course after I use up all the leftovers I have. :D
Don


THERAPEUTIC INDICATIONS
Antihistamine.

AZOMYR ® Tablets is indicated for rapid relief of symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis and other allergic conditions, including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itching, and itching, tearing and redness, itching of the palate and coughing.

AZOMYR ® Tablets is also indicated for the relief of symptoms and signs of acute and chronic urticaria and other allergic skin diseases.
 



Don,

Thank you.

Using 1/4 teaspoon IDY for 200 grams of flour comes to about 0.376%. That is not a lot to cause a dough to about triple in volume while under refrigeration.

You seem to have some curious flours in Mexico. I have heard of bleached cake flour but never bromated cake flour or whole wheat flour.

Peter

buceriasdon

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Re: My First Pizza - Please Help
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2011, 05:00:38 PM »
Matt, My exwife suffered from high blood pressure and for the last ten years was on a low sodium diet and medication, she made the salads and I did most of the cooking. To this day the only time I can tolerate much salt in my food is oriental cooking, it does taste salty to me, but I love the food. You may already know about such sites as this: 
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/50245/homemade_salt_substitutes_for_a_sodiumfree.html

used something similar for years. The last time I had my blood pressure taken it was 110 over 70, for a 61 year old, not bad.