Speaking to attendees at Fi’s Bakery Innovation Europe in Munich last week, Dr Helen Mitchell, food science consultant and director of science at Smart Salt - a patented, mineral-based salt replacer - said that use of such salt alternatives had taste and functional benefits.
Commercially available mineral salts have varying levels of magnesium and potassium levels, she explained, but for the optimal end bread product in terms of taste, shelf life and nutrition, a mineral salt high in magnesium chloride and slightly lower in potassium chloride is ideal. In particular, she said this ensures a taste profile that virtually mirrors regular salt.
“My suggestion is that high magnesium, low potassium chloride salt may provide an elegant solution to the provision of better dietary balance of important minerals in baked goods without compromise in terms of taste and shelf life,” she said.
This type of mineral salt “could be the future for sodium reduction because the taste quality and microbiological integrity of the product is maintained even at very low levels of sodium (240-288 mg per 100g),” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
This balance of minerals also means that nutritional guidelines can be more easily met, she said.
‘Very little difference’ in taste
Mitchell said that independent consumer acceptability tests, conducted by Leatherhead Food Research on the Smart Salt 40 in bread, showed that consumers recognized very little difference in taste compared to breads containing regular salt.
A 52-strong panel rated overall liking, appearance, aroma, flavor and texture of the bread products. The Smart Salt 40 ingredient contained 288mg of added sodium per 100g, compared to regular salt at 480mg.
Mitchell noted that the level of sodium in the Smart Salt bread sample was “much lower” than the recommended sodium level of 400mg per 100g outlined in the UK’s Responsibility Deal.
Indication of mold-prevention
The food science consultant also discussed the microbial properties of the Smart Salt sample, referencing her own peer-reviewed white paper. Her research found that immediately after baking, the patented mineral salt led to a more significant drop in the bacteria formation bacillus subtilis compared to regular salt. Overall however, both breads eventually showed the same level of bacteria formation over longer storage.
However, in her report, Mitchell wrote: “… this initial difference in lethality would indicate that the patented mineral salt in combination with the heat applied during baking could contribute to an increased process lethality compared to regular salt.”
From a nutritional stand-point, she said the mineral salt was interesting because of the impact the ingredient could have on health. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved various health claims for magnesium including its ability to contribute to teeth and bone health and normal functioning of the nervous system.
Mitchell referenced a published double-blind, placebo eight-week trial that looked into the impact of Smart Salt on blood pressure. Findings from Sarkkinen et al. showed that substitution of Smart Salt reduced systolic blood pressure in subjects that already had mildly elevated blood pressure. Mitchell said that to see an impact within eight weeks was “very significant”.
Simple 1:1 replacement for most bread recipes
When considering use of mineral salts to reduce sodium, she said it was important to remember that the nutrient levels in mineral salts differ greatly and it is this balance that is important to taste, nutrition and mold-prevention.
The appeal with mineral salts, she said, is that they can often be used as a like-for-like replacement of salt.
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