How to Compensate for Too Much Salt in Cookies

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Unfortunately, when you have too much salt in your cookie dough, not much can be done.
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Unfortunately, when you have too much salt in your cookie dough, not much can be done. However, pairing the cookies with something a little sweeter can make them more palatable, because sweetness balances saltiness.

Cookies ⁠— Too Much Salt Fix

In an interview with LIVESTRONG.com, Penny Stankiewicz, Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, discusses the problem of too much salt in cookies and other baked goods. "You can't really fix a cookie dough that is already salted," she explains. "It's raw and you can't taste it until it's baked. The best thing to do is to note that it's too salty, and adjust the amount next time you make the recipe."

"Baking is very different than savory cooking, where you can make adjustments to the recipe as you're cooking, if it ends up overly salty. The ratios in baking are rather precise, so if you inadvertently put in too much salt, you can't add something else to balance it, without throwing off the entire recipe. To compensate, pair the cookies with a food that is a bit sweeter, because sugar balances salt. Your only other recourse is to start the recipe over, if you have the time."

Read more: Easy Holiday Cookies That Are Actually Healthy

Cake⁠ — Too Much Salt Fix

"As with cookies, when you have too much salt in cake batter, you won't be aware of the problem until the cake is baked," says Stankiewicz. "Just alter the recipe the next time. Generally, the proportions are very small and won't stand out as too salty. One way to compensate is to use a sweet jam as a filling for the cake, and hold back any additional salt."

Brownies are less likely to taste salty, because salt and chocolate are complementary. "Chocolate and salt are best friends, so salt really brings out the complexity in the flavor of the chocolate," Stankiewicz explains.

Why do recipes for cakes and other sweets call for salt? According to the Exploratorium, salt's main function is to enhance and balance the other flavors. Without salt, a cake will likely taste flat, but use it judiciously enough that you can't detect any salty flavor.

Salt in Bread Dough

Stankiewicz explains that salt plays a completely different role in bread than it does in cookies and cakes. "First, it's a major flavor component. Without salt, the bread will taste terrible or flavorless. When a product has very few ingredients, like bread, each one becomes very significant."

"Salt also has a function in bread to slow yeast progression, which in turn leads to better bread flavor. Many things contribute to the amount of salt in bread, but most recipes call for a scant ½ teaspoon per cup of flour."

Read more: How to Bake Breads in Convection Ovens

Unless otherwise noted, the type of salt listed in bread recipes is table salt. If you prefer to use other varieties, such as sea salt and kosher salt, you may need to adjust the amount. A teaspoon of table salt is comparable to 1 to 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 1/4 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. The larger the size of the salt grain, the greater amount you need to add, explains The University of Tennessee.

If you need to reduce your salt intake, it's possible to decrease the amount in baked goods without making a noticeable difference in taste. In yeast bread, use 1/4 teaspoon of salt per cup of flour; and in baked goods that don't contain yeast, cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half, advises the University of Nebraska.

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