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Author Topic: Sauce: To salt or not to salt  (Read 695 times)

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Offline crawsdaddy

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Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« on: January 16, 2018, 09:27:04 AM »
My journey in trying to make a good neapolitan sauce began years ago using published recipes with salt, sugar and spices. As time went on, I dropped the spices and about 3 years ago, I quit using sugar. However, I have continued to use salt. I am curious about how much salt most people on the forum use in their sauce. Santa Fe Bill has a video where he adds only a few shakes. ( Also, adjusts sweetness and acidity with small amounts of sugar and vinegar-- my taste recognition isn't good enough for that). I have also seen videos that show adding a heaping teaspoon to a 28oz can and on the other extreme Omid says he added none. I currently have been adding a level 1/2 tsp but am thinking that that is way too much. Comments please.

Offline norcoscia

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 09:40:01 AM »
I think the answer is going to be different for people depending on how much salt they use and how salty the tomatoes are to start with.

I say this because a few months ago I cut out all salt for 30 days - after a few weeks I would taste things that did not taste salty when I was using a lot of salt but tasted way to salty after I cut out the salt (things like processed food, soups). I started adding salt back in and all of a sudden the processed food did not taste as salty. The more salt you use the more numb you get to it.
Norm

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 09:43:35 AM »
On average, I add about 0.5% (w/w) salt to my tomatoes, however I taste before and after adding salt and adjust as needed. Some of my pies, such as a Margherita, get a bit of additional salt during preparation. Other's with saltier toppings like pepperoni don't.

I've experimented with adjusting sweetness/acidity with sugar and vinegar, however to my taste, adding either is far worse than any imbalance in the tomato. If a can is so far off that I think it requires anything other than salt, I trash it and open another.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 10:24:30 AM »
crawsdaddy,

I agree with Norm that there is no one answer. However, if you can find the nutrition facts for the tomatoes you are using, you can see the Sodium and Sugars content of the tomatoes. In the case of Sodium, you can convert that number to an equivalent volume of ordinary table salt by dividing that number by 2325 (a teaspoon of ordinary salt has 2325 mg of sodium). That will give you the fraction of a teaspoon. If that amount is high, then you may choose not to add more salt or do so gradually until you get the salt taste you are after. If it is low, then you may decide to add more table salt, again to suit your palate. Sugars is a tougher case because there are many forms of sugar, some natural and some that are ordinary table sugar. But all sugars impart some sweetness, so you may have to test your tomatoes to see if more sugar is needed, in whatever form, to satisfy your palate. If you don't mind doing a bit of research on this subject, you might take a look at the range of values of Sodium and Sugars in the various Stanislaus tomatoes at https://www.stanislaus.com/products/nutrition-facts. Salt is usually added to canned tomatoes (the Sugars are usually natural) but I think you will be surprised at the range of Sodium values. I might also add that when both salt and sugars are in products, they can masquerade their individual flavors so that they are less pronounced on the palate.

In my own diet, I use very little table salt and I also keep my sugar consumption low. That has made my palate very sensitive to salt and sugar, to the point where I often find foods too salty or too sweet to my taste. So, one of the first things I do when looking at foods to purchase is to look at the Sodium and Sugars number on the nutrition labels. If the numbers are high, I usually pass or decide how to take the numbers into account as part of my total diet to keep my total daily Sodium and Sugars numbers within reasonable ranges. Sodium is a controversial subject and can affect different people differently. So, your mileage may vary.

The bottom line is that each person is different, so the solutions to salt and sugar contents will be personal and different from one person to another.

Peter

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 10:29:05 AM »
I tend to adjust the salt ad hoc (but somewhere around 1/2 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher for a can) for flavor because I use different tomato brands a lot of the time.  So, I salt and taste, etc. 

Having said that, I think the biggest driver is the other toppings.  If I am using a mozzarella that I know is salty and/or I know I will have something like pepperoni on the pizza, I try to go light on the salt (under salt it if it was standalone) - otherwise the overall pizza is too salty.
Mitch

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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 11:11:05 AM »
I don't use added salt either, I haven't for more than 25-years now and indeed, most prepared foods are WAY too salty for my taste, and I totally agree that you can pick-up on flavors that you previously couldn't detect. Because of this I was one of the more "popular" persons on our sensory panel as I could detect things that were un-noticed by many of the other panel members. Since I don't add any salt to my sauces (only to the dough) I always advise people to feel free to use the salt shaker if they so desire as I have not used any salt in the preparation of their pizza. Surprisingly, very few people do add any salt to the pizza as the natural flavors carry the flavor profile (think Mrs. Dash) and in reality, the cheese provides all of the salt needed for a well rounded flavor profile.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 11:19:35 AM »
Also, when it comes to the sauce, style matters a lot. What you do for NY may not be the same as for American which may not be the same as for NP. This questions is posted in the NP section, so presumably it's a very thin crust and sparsely topped, without a lot of cheese, and a charred crust. Not salting the sauce in such a situation could easily lead to an out of balance pizza.
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Offline psedillo

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 11:49:26 AM »
Out of curiosity I've seen several dough recipes that call for fine sea salt versus kosher. Is there a prevailing thought on one versus the other?

Offline ebpizza

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 12:10:44 PM »
For dough: I use fine Sicilian sea salt.
For sauce: 1/2 - 1 tsp of kosher salt, based on taste of tomatoes.

Offline crawsdaddy

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 01:14:58 PM »
Thanks for the quick responses. I must admit that the main reason I have trouble determining the "saltiness" is what several of you have mentioned--I desalted myself 20+ years ago and add additional salt to nothing. I have never thought about canned tomatoes having different salt levels--great tip Pete and adjusting the salt levels for the topping is another "ah-ha" moment--thanks Mitch and Craig.  Based on the responses thus far, it appears that my 1/2tsp to 28 oz is a good starting point in trying to guess what most of my guests would like.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 01:19:11 PM by crawsdaddy »

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Offline crawsdaddy

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 01:15:40 PM »
For dough: I use fine Sicilian sea salt.
For sauce: 1/2 - 1 tsp of kosher salt, based on taste of tomatoes.

me too :D

Offline schold

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 01:55:22 PM »
Salt. Always. Everything.
Cooking is not a recipe, it's a philosophy - unless it's pastry, then it's chemistry.

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Offline crawsdaddy

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 03:39:25 PM »
On average, I add about 0.5% (w/w) salt to my tomatoes, however I taste before and after adding salt and adjust as needed. Some of my pies, such as a Margherita, get a bit of additional salt during preparation. Other's with saltier toppings like pepperoni don't.

I've experimented with adjusting sweetness/acidity with sugar and vinegar, however to my taste, adding either is far worse than any imbalance in the tomato. If a can is so far off that I think it requires anything other than salt, I trash it and open another.

In "Flour, water, yeast, salt, passion", they recommend 10g per kilo, which is double your and I think equals to about 1 2/3 tsp per 28 oz.--seems very high to me. Your beginning point seems much more sensible. Incidentally if I tried adjusting sweetness/acidity with my lousy palate I would need to throw away the resulting product no matter how good or bad it started off.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 03:41:05 PM »
In "Flour, water, yeast, salt, passion", they recommend 10g per kilo, which is double your and I think equals to about 1 2/3 tsp per 28 oz.--seems very high to me.

Yes, that really sound like a lot. I don't think I've ever used more than 1 tsp for a 35oz can - let alone 28oz.
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Offline thezaman

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 09:56:07 PM »
 if you are using American tomatoes such as ulta cuchina by stanislaus foods i would add none. if using Italian San Marzano tomatoes some salt is needed. look and compare labels. the difference from manufacturer to manufacture is big. also if you have a lot of salt in your dough then less is needed on any other part of the pizza.
  it is very hard finding the right balance of salt. cheese,sauce, ingredients and dough are all factors that you must balance for optimum flavor.

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Offline crawsdaddy

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Re: Sauce: To salt or not to salt
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2018, 10:05:20 AM »
if you are using American tomatoes such as ulta cuchina by stanislaus foods i would add none. if using Italian San Marzano tomatoes some salt is needed. look and compare labels. the difference from manufacturer to manufacture is big. also if you have a lot of salt in your dough then less is needed on any other part of the pizza.
  it is very hard finding the right balance of salt. cheese,sauce, ingredients and dough are all factors that you must balance for optimum flavor.

Thanks for the good advice. Pete mentioned in the post above the varying amounts of salt in packing, which I never considered before in the almost 20 years of trying to make pizza. DUH!!!. As I mentioned above, balancing all this stuff for salt is very hard for me because I "desalted" myself about 20 years ago and am very sensitive to small amounts of salt, but I am trying hard using my wife as the "salt taster".

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