Table Salt

October 5, 2013

Table Salt Shaker

Table salt is fine-grained salt used as a condiment.

Table salt is not only grains of sodium chloride; it is also iodized.  Various iodides supply populations with dietary iodine.  Anti-caking agents are also present to maintain the fine grain.

Salt also finds use in bread-making by increasing the strength of the protein network.  The sodium and chloride ions in dough shield the local charges on glutenin and gliadin allowing a greater degree of cross-links in the eventual gluten structure.

In pickling though, table salt specifically should be avoided because of the additives.  Its effect is purely aesthetic.  The food darkens in the presence of iodides, and the anti-caking agents will cloud the brine.

At concentrations greater than those found in pickling, salt and the iodides present have an antimicrobial effect in solution.

In both pickling and bread-making, the presence of chlorine present in tap water is a greater concern than the concentration of salt or iodides.  But the average domestic activated charcoal filter may easily remove this microbial hazard.

This illustration contributed to the production of the video “Gluten in the Baking Process” found here. The video was featured by the good people at Better Engineers, a now-defunct online magazine for engineers and scientists.

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