Bakers looking for ways to reduce salt in bread are being offered an alternative to bland low-salt options.

Hopped Spraymalt Light a product made from malt and hops, spraydried into a fine powder is already used in the brewing industry, but malted ingredients manufacturer Mun-tons has discovered it works well in boosting bread flavour and perceived salt levels.

Said Andrew Fuller, pro-duct development technologist: "While hops are primarily grown for the brewing industry, when combined with malt extract, they offer a bittersweet flavour to enhance savoury baked goods. The product could be used in all kinds of bread, and particularly beer bread."

Muntons’ taste panels found that bread with just 1% Hopped Spraymalt Light was more flavoursome and perceived as more salty than a control bread without malt and hops, said Fuller. Both recipes contained 0.9g salt per 100g just below the FSA 2012 guidelines.

Malt acts as a natural flavour enhancer, boosting the flavour intensity of the bread, said Muntons, and hops bring natural bitterness, which confuses the palate into thinking that the bread is saltier.