Gluten development happens more slowly in the presence of salt.
One of the reasons is that salt slows down the yeast fermentation. Delaying the addition of salt to a bread dough enables the gluten to develop more quickly. This can produce a dough that is easier to handle and shape, with an improved texture and flavour.
When mixing dough in a no-time dough process, add the salt about two-thirds of the way through the mixing time. If you are using a bulk fermentation method, don’t add the salt to the mixer and, instead, add it when knocking the dough back. Simply mix the salt through, ensuring it is well mixed in. Sieving the salt over the dough makes this easier.
Matthew Smith, bakery technician, Campden BRI
Campden BRI provides technical support to the food, drinks and allied industries worldwide. Its activities are built on a programme of industrial relevant research and innovation steered by industry. See campdenbri.co.uk or telephone 01386 842000