What is the role of salt in bakery products?
Salt has several functions in baked goods. It modifies flavour, increases crust colour and controls the rate of yeast fermentation and enzyme activity.
Salt also strengthens gluten, making it more cohesiveness and less sticky. With salt present, gluten holds more water and carbon dioxide, allowing the dough to expand without tearing. This means that salt prevents excessive tearing when gluten stretches so bread is easier to handle and has a better volume and a finer crumb.
Because salt noticeably strengthens gluten, bread bakers sometimes delay the addition of salt to dough made from strong flour, adding it late in the mixing process. The dough mixes faster and cooler as there is less resistance and frictional heat generated during mixing. Once salt is added, the dough tightens and is more difficult to stretch, but it will stretch further without tearing.