Author Topic: Yeast and Salt ?  (Read 874 times)

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Offline mkevenson

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Yeast and Salt ?
« on: April 26, 2013, 07:44:18 PM »
 ??? I have read and heard that salt will decrease the effectiveness of yeast in a dough. There seems to be several different ways folks try to keep the salt and yeast separate. Ultimately, however the salt and yeast WILL be together when the dough ball is formed.
So if I dissolve my salt in the water, then add my flour with IDY mixed in, isn't the salty water going to effect the yeast as much as if I mix the water and flour and yeast and add the salt well into the kneading process? (saw it done that way at a class recently)?
Does anyone know at what stage one is safe to marry the salt and yeast?
 
 
Maybe I should make two dough balls, one with salt and one without. See if the yeast action is the same or different between the 2 balls? :(
 
Mark
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Yeast and Salt ?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 07:57:47 PM »
I dissolve the salt into the water then introduce the yeast directly to the salt water. I think this is how it is done in Naples. I aerate it really well then add flour. The yeast an salt-water are together without flour (other than that in the culture) for maybe a minute or so.

I have not read a lot on it, but there is evidence that salt-stressing the yeast is beneficial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20492129
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Yeast and Salt ?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 09:56:36 PM »
Mark,

According to the yeast producers, once you get above 1% salt (by weight of flour), it has an inhibiting effect on the yeast performance. However, if you have a proper balance and quantitative relationship between the salt and yeast, you should get acceptable results. It is when there is too much salt in relationship to the yeast that you can get in trouble.

The way that Craig deals with salt and yeast is the correct (and recommended) way for a natural leavening system. You can do it the same way if using commercial yeast (fresh or dry) although instant dry yeast (IDY) and fresh yeast can be combined with the flour (that is, they don't have to be rehydrated). The one thing you normally don't want to do is to add the salt and yeast to the water all at the same time for other than a very brief period since, as the article at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/salt.html discusses, salt can have a retarding effect on the yeast because of the way that salt can leach liquids (including glutathione) out of the yeast cells. The best and safest way to do it is to let the salt hydrate directly in water and then add the leavening agent (if it is to be hydrated) when there is very little likelihood that the salt will leach out yeast cellular fluids. Having said all this, there will be some people who will say that they throw the salt and yeast into the water all the time, without any ill effects. However, often, after careful scrutiny, it turns out that the yeast levels were higher than normal and could survive some losses, or the interaction between the salt, yeast and water was momentary. Using far more yeast than necessary because of high salt levels is a matter of poor recipe design in my opinion, whether intentional or out of ignorance.

As for when the salt is added to the dough, sometimes salt is added to the dough toward the end of the dough kneading process if the flour is a strong flour. Otherwise, the dough may be overly strengthened by the salt. French bakers also added the salt later in the process. They weren't concerned with the fact that doing so caused the the dough to be bleached out by oxidation of the dough, which would have been prevented if used up front (because salt is an antioxidant). Salt is also added later in the dough making process when an autolyse is used. However, whichever way the salt ends up in the dough, it will act as a regulator of the fermentation process. But so long as there is a proper relationship between the salt and yeast as mentioned above, the results should be acceptable.

A final point to make is that modern yeast strains have been developed that are more resistant to salt levels. But I wouldn't use that improved resistance as an excuse to abuse the yeast or as an excuse for poor recipe design.

Peter

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Yeast and Salt ?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 10:43:43 AM »
Peter & Craig, thank you for your input. I will do a few experiments as indicated and report back.
Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles