No salt baking, no or low fat, prefer little or no sugar


Hi, Just discovered this site after desperately searching for help making a bread that does not use salt and prefer no fat.
I have been using an old recipe for Italian bread and using the nu-salt. Italian bread has no added oil.
I have been trying to come up with ways to make it using whole wheat, rye and adding flax seed.
It is ok but not exactly what we want yet.

I have been adding a small amount of sugar or honey (1 T max to about 4 cups of flour)

We are on a very low salt diet (a must for at least 6 months) and my DH is borderline diabetic so we are trying to cut out sugar anywhere we can. We do not like the artificial sweeteners so adding a small amount of honey or molasses is our only option.

Has anybody had good success making these adaptations?

We love the yeasty flavor and course bread and the tougher crust of Italian bread.
Any help would be appreciated.

badge posted by: SpokaneLinda on January 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm in Q & A
share on: Twitter, Facebook
Replies to this discussion
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save" to activate your changes.
reply by: frick on January 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Tuscan bread has no salt since is traditional in Tuscany where it is served with salty/spicy foods. However, it is sorely lacking in flavor. Perhaps you might look at the KA recipe. Bread has no need for sweetening at all so you could eliminate the honey, molasses, sugar, etc. There has been a lot of discussion on the OBC about sourdough bread being more diabetes friendly so why not start some sourdough? PaddyL had a couple of great starters based on recipes from the OBC and some great breads that use them. If you put her name in a new thread, she will be as helpful as she can considering she is nursing a very ill sister (Sheila). I ope this helps.

reply by: vibeguy on January 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Tuscan bread is the right direction; I take it you've seen this recipe:

You could add a touch of Nu-Salt to that recipe, but you might want to try AlsoSalt ( The website is awful, but it's the technology in the Heinz No-Salt-Added Ketchup, which I find *astonishingly* good. I haven't baked with AlsoSalt yet, but I have tasted it in savory applications, and found it pretty tasty.

But, as pointed out above, what you really need is sourdough, or culture of some sort. Easy step one would be to replace water with beer - beer is loaded with flavor chemicals. As I posted in the thread on no-knead, you don't want anything too complicated - some Killian's Irish Red or Bass Ale or anything neither super-bland (Bud/Bud Light) nor super-hoppy (IPA) will work nicely.

Easy step two is to slow down your rises, AKA retarding. In the Pane Toscano recipe, you could let the sponge rise on the counter for an hour, then shove it in the fridge for up to 48 hours. The colder the ferments, the more flavorful the bread. After you make the finished dough, same thing - some time on the counter, a day or two in the fridge.

Easy step three: add a small amount of citric acid crystals (AKA Sour Salt in the Kosher food section). I think the amount is 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. per cup of flour. This adds a nice tang without going to a lot of effort. You would add this during the dough stage, not the sponge stage.

Slightly more complicated, but WAY easier than keeping a liquid starter going, is the old bread method. After using the cold ferments, before shaping the dough, pinch off a ball of an ounce or so (bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball) and wrap it in Saran and stick it in the freezer. Thaw and add as you're mixing the new dough. This gives you a head start on the flavor development.

Next, you could try using a freeze-dried instant starter. I *SWEAR* by the LA-4 from Lallemand, sold as - it's fantastic, it lasts forever in the freezer, it never needs to be fed (if you don't want to), and it's great for the infrequent baker. Add a tiny amount to the sponge, and voila, delicious pain de campagne. No added salt, no added sweetener, a cheesy/tangy flavor and it is so simple an addled child can do it. That's how I manage. ;0)

Sourdough would be a great path to go down, but not all of us are organized and regular enough in our baking to make it make sense to maintain starter. The LA-4 is an excellent tool in the toolbox to get that big, authentic flavor without a cauldron of bubbling paste in the back of the fridge.


reply by: SpokaneLinda on January 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Thank you so much! I had never heard of this bread and of course all my searchs were just worthless.
This looks to be exactly what we were looking for.
I had tried the sourdough but to be honest with my life, I couldn't keep the starter alive long enough to really experiment.
But this will be a great start and since I don't really like the nu-salt anyway, I just won't use it.
It is not easy to cut salt and sugar and fat out of a diet all at once but with people like you around, it makes it easier to take those first few steps.
Thank you again.

reply by: SpokaneLinda on January 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

what is the OBC?

reply by: vibeguy on January 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Seriously, though, try the AlsoSalt, and if you haven't tried the ketchup yet, try it. Blinded, I would be hard-pressed to tell it from table salt.

reply by: omaria on January 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Vibeguy, seriously, my neighborhood would greatly improve with you and Mike as neighbors.

reply by: vibeguy on January 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Tell that to my existing neighbors. Hint: this pink Mohawk is real. ;0)

reply by: kchunks on January 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

You might want to check out which really has no bread recipes, but has a lot of recipes for different healthy lifestyles- low salt, diabetic, people using warfarin. That might help you through the next six months.

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 21, 2011 at 11:40 am
Mike Nolan

Several years ago I developed a low-sodium bread recipe for my daughter-in-law, before she found out she was gluten intolerant.

I may still have a copy of it in a file, it isn't in my experimental notebook.

I thought I posted it in a thread on the OBC, but I don't have the patience to try to search for it there.

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm
Mike Nolan

My daughter-in-law still had a copy of it, but it may not meet your other criteria.

This recipe is sized for a bread machine.

1 3/4 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs (or just the yolks, less sodium that way)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast

A variant of this which I liked better was to leave out the honey and use buttermilk instead of milk,but that adds to the sodium.

reply by: vibeguy on January 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Something else that I was thinking about....

There's a naturally-occurring amino acid called l-glutamine that is found in things like mushrooms, beef, tomatoes, soybeans and cheese. It's delicious, and utterly sodium-free. You can get it in capsule and loose powder forms in health food stores (I have the NOW Foods version). I haven't put it in bread (I put it in my garlic bread schmear), but I bet it would be ridiculously delicious. You could add it during the doughmaking process. I'd start with three grams per total cup of flour and adjust up or down as desired. It would really amp the toasty/wheaty flavors, as well as the flavor of whatever you put on the bread.

reply by: 69 Cougar on January 24, 2011 at 12:31 am
69 Cougar

What is the OBC?

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 24, 2011 at 10:27 am
Mike Nolan

It is the old version of the Baking Circle, which is scheduled to be shut down in a week.

There are over 25,000 threads with several hundred thousand posts in them from the past over there, covering a pretty wide range of subjects, and with a lot of very useful information that, sadly, will apparently vanish when it is shut down.

However, until then it can be accessed at

reply by: SpokaneLinda on January 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thank you all for the help.
I finally had time to try the bread.
I followed the recipe exactly except I had 2 T of flax seed so I poured those in and used 1 cup of whole wheat flour for the added flavor.

worked wonderfully. I had to let my sponge set for almost 24 ours by the time I got around to it.

I love the way it holds up to a sandwich! That was the one thing I missed going salt free. It tasted great as far as we were concerned, however we had to go salt free quite a while ago and our taste buds have adjusted.

Thank you for all the suggestions. We had to have one with No sodium at all. Even a small amount from milk would have put us over the limit. We loved the fact that there is no oil in this recipe and used a spray release to oil the top.

The recipe that I was directed to here worked great, It does seem to call for a lot of water though! I had to use more flour just to get it to form any shape at all. Any ideas on this?
And, when they say it makes a large loave, they are not kidding! It is huge.
However, it does not rise up much.
And for old people like us, the crust was really really hard! I am not going to spray it nearly as much next time.

But, it really works for us. We will be making this every few days.

Thank you for all the help and suggestions.

reply by: frick on January 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Was that the tuscan bread from KA that you made?

reply by: Cindy Leigh on January 29, 2011 at 1:43 am
Cindy Leigh

In terms of diabetes, it's not so much the tbsp or so of sugar in a recipe that's potentially troublesome, it's the carbs in the bread itself, and the glycemic index. Most diabetes centers advocate fiber and whole grains, and serving small amounts with lean proteins or healthy fats helps avoid blood sugar spikes. also as mentioned above, note the research on sourdough.
I usually reduce the salt in any given recipe by half, with no apparent effect on the recipe. Even if, say, a recipe calls for a tsp, divide by the number of slices to get a good estimate of the impact to you. Sometimes the per serving salt comes out to be, for instance, 1/20 of a tsp. I can live with that, since I don't add salt in or on other food and avoid canned food as much as possible. Ditto for fat. I add a tbsp of EVOO to my Italian sourdough. Overall, the amount per slice is so small.
Good luck! Would love to hear about how your experiments with reduced sugar, salt, and fat come out!

reply by: vibeguy on January 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

It's very high-hydration and will be kind of a wet sticky mess at first. You don't so much shape these doughs as push them around, but I promise, if you knead for the given time without giving in to the temptation of adding more flour, the dough will be workable to some extent. I stick a bench scraper in each hand, and sort of lift/scoop/fold this into form.