The Food Standards Agency (FSA)/National Association of Master Bakers’ project specifically looked at reducing salt levels in tin loaves and bloomers, as well as considering no-time dough, sponge-and-dough and long fermentation processes using a variety of flour types, improver types, dough temperatures and rest times.
Test baking was carried out in Marriage’s test bakery and also in a range of craft bakery settings.
Research showed that:
l there are no technical barriers to reducing salt to the FSA 2012 salt reduction target (1g salt or 400mg sodium, average) or below in craft bakeries; all that is required is simple recipe changes and good process control.
l bakers can estimate the current salt levels of their bread using a tool developed following the research project and without submitting a sample to the public analyst. By following simple guidance on recipe changes, they can make gradual step-wise reductions towards the FSA 2012 salt target and below.
As a result of the project, two salt reduction tools for bakers have now been developed. The first is a web tool, which can be found at www.food.gov.uk/saltcalculator. This enables craft bakers to calculate the current salt level of their bread, by simply entering the amount of flour and salt they use, and to gauge where they are in comparison to the FSA’s target. The second is an easy-to-use table, which provides guidance on stepwise recipe changes that can be made by bakers to reduce the salt content of their bread while retaining consumer acceptance of the new recipes. This can be found at: www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2010/jul/bakers.
Local authority project
To disseminate the results of the project and the tools that have been developed, the FSA is working in partnership with the NAMB and local authorities. From July to November, local authority officers may make contact with bakers in their area to talk to them about reducing salt in bread.
The support offered will involve two visits. At the first, a calculation or a sample will be taken to determine the current salt level in a baker’s bread, advice will be given as to how to reduce salt and any questions answered. A follow-up visit around three months after the first will be made to assess progress, and a further sample or calculation made to determine the reductions made.
The results and feedback on any issues arising will be collected centrally. This will enable the FSA and the NAMB to promote the success of the actions of the craft bakery sector in reducing the salt content of bread and providing their consumers with an even healthier product.
We encourage you to take part in this initiative, which has the potential to make a really positive impact on the health of your customers and to promote the products on offer by the craft bakery sector.
l For further information please contact: Alette Addison at the FSA on firstname.lastname@example.org or the NAMB on 01920 468061.