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For a great tutorial, check out the Baking Bible Bake Along with ROSE'S ALPHA BAKERS. The link is on the left side of the blog. We will also be posting "OUT-BAKES" from the book, on this blog, including step-by step photos and other extras.

Salt of the Earth

Nov 3, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

Dear Rose,
What's the big deal with kosher salt these days? It seems that many of the TV cooks specify it rather than regular salt, in everything from vegetable dishes to baked goods. I seem to recall learning that kosher salt should not be substituted in cakes, etc., because it doesn't perform the same as regular salt. For example, a recent program called for kosher salt in the meringue for a lemon meringue tart. Any thoughts?
Debbie

Rose Response

debbie, i'm jewish, i write bibles, and i still don't use kosher salt in baking! o.k. i'll get serious. this is an excellent question. here's the scoop: it is thought that kosher salt dissolves more readily less readily (see comments below!) than other salts which is useful when sprinkling on meat, chicken, or eggplant. but there are two kinds of kosher salt--morton which is granulated and diamond which is flaked or fluffed up so that it takes up more volume. if you use this salt you will need 1 3/4 times to equal the same weight or saltiness as the granulated.

the only valid reason i can see for calling for kosher salt is that it isn't iodized which can give an unpleasant taste to baked goods.

i use fine sea salt for all my baking. it's easy to measure and is not iodized.

Comments

I use pickleing salt in all my baking and cooking. I have never had a problem.

REPLY

RD,
Your comments seem way out of line for the discussion at hand. Especially when the two people are saying nearly the same thing. If you want to place more trust in a manufacturers advice than the empirical experience of a chef of many years that is your prerogative but it doesn't justify being rude.

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i'm sure you must be right. you speak with such authority. that's proof enough isn't it.

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You don't get it. You're obviously not trained in the sciences. You simply can't measure two cups of different substances with the same degree of precision.

And no, I don't believe everything doctors say -- but I do believe what they say when it's supported by science, and I discount the pseudo-science spewed by the Internet quacks.

Simply put, you don't know what you're talking about, and you don't have the scientific skill to back your purported conclusions.

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of course i've also measured 1 cup of each as well.

i supposed you believe everything doctors say too!

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My point exactly, so to speak. The variance between two 1 teaspoon measures of any given substance is going to be plus or minus 10%, at least. If you want to reduce the variance, weigh a cubic foot of each. Your samples are too small and too subject to variation to be reliable.

Better question for you: why on earth would you question the manufacturer, which has professional scientists with knowledge, skill, training, experience, accurate instruments, and scientifically valid procedures to support their conclusions? What possible reason would they have for falsely claiming that their Coarse Kosher Salt is slightly less salty than their Table Salt?

REPLY

here's what i weighed: 1 level teaspoon of fine sea salt and 1 level teaspoon of morton coarse kosher salt. i emptied each into a seperate container and used the dip and sweep method of measuring them. they were identical as on each previous time i have done this. you may not find this scientifically sound but for baking purposes i still maintain that they are interchangeable.

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But what, exactly, did you weigh? Your point rests on the assumption that the volume of table salt you weighed was EXACTLY the same volume as the Coarse Kosher Salt you weighed. Unless you were comparing huge volumes so that the variance between the two samples was scientifically insignificant, your results are too uncertain to be reliable. Volume is a very difficult thing to measure; weight is much simpler. Regardless of the precision of the instrument you used, unless the two samples were exactly the same -- and a simple tablespoon measure ain't gonna cut it -- your results are little better than random.

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you can believe morton salt's website or you can believe that once again i weighed the salt compared to fine sea salt on a mettler $2000 scale and each was identical to the 10th of a gram.

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I suggest that anyone interested in the kosher salt sue check Morton's site. They do NOT recommend using their Coarse Kosher Salt in baking, and they DO say you need to increase the amount of kosher salt (1 teaspoon table salt = 1.25 teaspoons kosher). Check it out: http://www.mortonsalt.com/salt_guide/index.html

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I have been Jewish all my life, and I have kept a kosher home for 44 years. I have never heard anything remotely like this comment regarding salt and kashrut. From the comment about "leveling," I think s/he may be confused with leavening in Passover food. Matzo does not have added leavening, but it certainly does have salt.

REPLY

drwin@valornet.com
drwin@valornet.com
03/ 9/2008 04:55 PM

Rose, I have a Christian friend who constantly reminds me that anything with any kind of salt in it cannot be used as a Kosher dish. Flat bread for example, is not Jewish if it has salt in it and if it does, then he calls it adding leveling. Would someone please explain this to me. Thank you.

REPLY

Terry - you can call these companies and ask where their products are sold:
Hodgson-Mill
Bob's Red Mill

REPLY

Terry - If your local market doesn't carry it, try a health food store.

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A recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour. Where can I find it?

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there is not a new edition, just a new printing with most of the corrections made. the way to determine the number of this printing which is 3 is to look at the page after the title page. at the bottom are a series of numbers and this refers to the printing. you don't want 1 or 2, you want the one that begins with 3. all the book stores now seem to have this printing but i have no way of knowing if amazon has old stock. i hope this helps.

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Amazon offers 2003 ediion of Bread Bible.Blogs mention revised edition.What is publication date of latest edition of this item and where can I obtain it?

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Thanks Rose, I too was adding more salt in my breads,but now I will buy sea salt,when making bread...good tip**
Im made a fig Focaccia yesterday..wow what a hit**..Never ate fresh whole figs,and put them in a bread recipes and on top.....YUMMmmm
I tried so many focaccia recipes to no avail...this one is tasty and crisp.
Recipe from"Lidias Family Table page 375...
Being Jewish,I often cook different cultures..
We LOVE Lydias Italian recipes....Shes a great cook**...
Andi*

REPLY

I'm not an amateur baker, nor am I professional, but I just learned several things in the last hour after reading the various questions and comments,especially about the differences in kosher salt. It just may solve a few of my problems. I LOVE my computer because of the instant access to recipes and venues, like this blog & others, where people share and enjoy the thrill of baking. I could spend hours (or days)
doing both.

REPLY

Thanks for your discussion of kosher salt in response to Debbie. I have been using Diamond kosher salt in my sourdough, and I did not realize that I was undersalting. I am going to use fine sea salt next time and see if there is any more flavor (though it's been awfully good up to now).

REPLY

anna thanks for helping me to stop perpetuating that myth! i checked with a salt expert and you're absolutely right! he said: rock salt is harder than sea salt and dissolves more slowly. also bigger crystals dissolve more slowly and kosher salt is rock salt with big crystals so there's the answer!

REPLY

"...it is thought that kosher salt dissolves more readily than other salts which is useful when sprinkling on meat, chicken, or eggplant."

I'm confused--I thought kosher salt dissolved *less* readily than regular table salt due to its larger crystal size, which is what made it more suitable for sprinkling on meats to draw the blood out (thank goodness the butcher does that part now *g*).

REPLY

laurel, just to be clear bf i launch into this bread: the chunks are the jalapenos not the cheddar which is still grated right? or is it the chunks of bread dough, bc at the end you say "...with peppers peeking out from the chunks" or are the chunks the loaves. sounds like you're not shaping the loaves in a traditional way but just pressing the rough dough into the pans. is this right?

REPLY

laurel--you have provided a major temptation!!! thanks so much for sharing. i can't WAIT to try it-- bc i just know how terrific it's going to be.

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barbara, i think it will be fine to substitue the ww pastry flour in this case.

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Rose, I am famous for Jalapeno Cheese Bread using your recipe for cheddar cheese loaf. Instead of adding cheese when mixing, after last rise I press dough out and add 3 cups of grated cheddar (double recipe) and 1 cup of jalapeno slices from a jar and chop them in with a bench cutter. I pile the chunks into bread pans and add more cheese on top. I love the way the chunks rise unevenly giving it a unique look.They are crazy for it and it looks scrumptious with peppers peeking out from the chunks and extra cheese sprinkled on top. You are my bread mentor! This year I am gifting Pannetone using your recipe. Thanks for adding this skill to my life.

REPLY

Rose,
I recently bought two bags of whole wheat pastry flour from the bakers catalog. Can I substitute it for the whole wheat flour in your wheat croissant recipe in the bread bible?
Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and great tips you pass on to us novice bakers.

Thank you,
Barbara

REPLY

i'm puzzled. why did you copy the recipe from the bag instead of buying the flour which you could use to make it?

what do you mean by a printable site?

some stores will have the revised bread bible (it's the third printing) and all will have it as soon as their warehouses are depleted of previous printings which should be soon especially give nthe holidays.

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Harvest King pkg of Gold Medal bread flour just appeared in my supermarket. Painstakingly copied recepie for Rose's Hearth Bread, noted web site and tried to find a printable site, w/o success. When will revised edition of Bread Bible reach the bookstores? Have requested local PBS outlet pick up your show.

REPLY

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