The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Salt-free or low sodium bread recipes needed

pear_tart's picture

Salt-free or low sodium bread recipes needed

Hi all,

I'm searching for a good recipe for a salt-free or low-salt bread for a friend who has just been diagnosed with kidney disease. I know about the Tuscan no-salt bread, but that has a few shortcomings, according to Carol Field. First is that the bread does not keep very well - a real drawback, given that my friend and his partner lead busy lives, and can't bake often. Second is the bland taste. Field describes it as a good foil for stronger tastes like liver pates, stews, etc., which  also occupy the no-go zone for my friend's diet. I should also add that salt substitutes like Mrs. Dash are out - apparently they contain high levels of potassium, which is another forbidden ingredient.

So - ideas, anyone? Would, say, the addition of spelt, or cornmeal, or other whole grains help to mitigate the loss in flavour? Herbs such as rosemary or sage? Perhaps there's another ethnic-style bread that doesn't depend on salt. Does anyone have a really good recipe they can share? TIA.

b_elgar's picture

Stick to Carol Field's Tuscan bread recipe, or use any good, lean white recipe - using yeast or sourdough - but add about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil (per large loaf yield in the recipe). The fats will tenderize the crumb a bit and help prevent fast staling. Follow your favorite recipe to until the final shaping, then...

Do not form into boules or loaves, but instead, form into pizza, foccacia, fougasse or similar flatbread shapes and thickness for final rise.

Allow to rise. Brush tops of bread lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs, seeds and spices of your choosing. Olives, sun dried tomatoes or even small fruits will also work for variations. You may also use infused oilve oils or other flavored oils (walnut, for example) for the basting/infusing.

The flavor intensity of these breads depends on your whim, what you have on hand and the likes of your friends. The baked flat breads are easily stored in the freezer, can be made conveniently in single or multi-serve sizes, and are thin enough that many types can even be toasted the day/days after the initial bake.

Some of the items I use on these breads are:

Fresh or dried garlic, onion, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, basil (try holy or lettuce leaf basils, rather than the standard Genovese - they are more deeply flavored), za'atar, sumac, charnushka, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, oilves, raisins, craisins, dried cherries (when dealing with fruits, you may want to sprinkle a bit of sugar on top, too).

Although I like to make these with salt in the dough or in the ingredients on top for family, I, too, have friends, as do you, who cannot indulge. Inense flavoring is your answer. I have not taken photos of these for awhile, but you can find some here in my flickr account at the links below

Happy baking,



pear_tart's picture

Thank you so much for your response. I will revisit the Tuscan bread recipe and incorporate your suggestions. I'd like to help out by baking a few breads they can keep on hand, at least until they get a handle on the whole situation. 

Chuck's picture

Compared to a lot of the highly processed foods in the U.S. diet, the amount of salt in regular homemade bread is awfully small. Try to figure out how much salt is in a can of tomato sauce (or worse yet a bag of chips, or even worse one of those cans of Cambell's soup many of us ate as kids). Hopefully you can avoid the "plug the window crack while leaving the door wide open" syndrome. Numbers aren't always fun -especially for "mathophobes"- but they may turn out to be quite useful in this case.

pear_tart's picture

That is so true! My partner avoids added sodium wherever possible, so I have learned to read labels, and what they tell me is astounding! And I agree that the amount of salt in a home-made loaf of bread is likely well within the limits of a sodium-reduced diet. However, it's not my position to judge how much salt is too much salt, and if I can help to develop a reasonably good salt-free bread, then so much the better. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Check with the doctor, sugar should be high on that list too!  All forms of it (sugar, syrups, fruit juices, fruit) for sugar is just terrible for kidneys.  In baking your own bread, it's easy to just leave it out.  Head for the hardier grains that have more flavour and go for the long ferments!  There are so many wonderful herbs and spices, even from your own yard/garden that can flavour bread!



nicodvb's picture

This is Varda's saltless bread. It came out outstanding. Yes, spices help a lot to give taste to bread, but too much will (in many cases) kill the yeasts. You could also investigate other flours such as durum wheat or wholemeal hard wheat, that are much better tasting than ordinary wheat flour. Generally I'd recommend rye, but not this time: without salt rye would simply melt your dough in minutes and you wouldn't be able to handle it.


FloridaBreadMan's picture

Here's my recipe for Low Sodium Bread Machine Bread


 Working on a Rye recipe now.