Bread smells. There’s a lot of ways to read that, either the bread has an odor – which is correct grammatically – or it’s a statement of adjective and noun.
Regardless – walking into a room with fresh baked bread is (chef’s kiss). It’s delightful. And so disappointing if you cut in and the bread is sort of just dough.
The delightful smell of bread comes to us courtesy of yeast! Yes, their death rattles are your olfactory delight. They also offer up flavor. They give bread the “bread” flavor which screams for butter.
But salt is what makes your bread taste very, very good.
People malign salt. Even I look at labels and try to get lower-sodium selections. It is a LOT of salt, after all. But salt is really not too bad for you. (Also, lower-sodium products give you more control over the seasoning)
It’s why you add a full percent or two to your bread dough. My 500g flour recipe calls for at least 10g of salt! Why weigh salt?
Most people have salt in a salt shaker out of a blue can. It’s tiny granules, easy to get out of the shaker. More and more home cooks are using flaky kosher salt, which is made of flakes. A teaspoon of each is not going to weigh the same!
But with a kitchen scale, knowing all salt is the same density, you’re good to go. 10 grams. Done.
There’s a lot of hoopla about finishing salts, and styles of kosher salt, and brands, etc etc. I don’t get into that like I do my flours. By the time the salt is in the dough, there’s really not much you’re going to taste.
And that’s the real irony of salt – if things taste salty, you’ve added too much. If you’re inclined to experiment, though, try some bread with no salt. Then, try it with the right amount of salt. You’ll tell the difference.
I’m a big salt fan, though. I like to drizzle my boules in olive oil and salt as they bake. I add a little salt to my butter (a trick my Grandfather taught me, and he lived to 99, so stick it).
I typically go for Morton’s Kosher and it serves me well. Diamond Crystal is all the rage for many. Fancy chefs are all into sea salt and grey salt, and nonsense, if you want my true opinion.
But, leave with this knowledge: Your bread needs salt.