Baking has never been easier with these simple and effective tips that will help you bake like a low sodium pro!
Whether you’re a beginning cook learning your way around the kitchen or a seasoned baker, these tips will help make your transition to low sodium baking easy. If cooking is an art, baking is a science, with ingredients working together to create your sweet treats. These tips will set you up for success on your low sodium baking journey.
Read the Recipe First
Reading the recipe ALL THE WAY THROUGH before you cook should be your first step in the kitchen. Most people read recipes one step at a time, but reading ahead allows you to do two things. You can make sure you have all the ingredients you need and get familiar with the steps you’ll take to prepare the recipe.
Learn to Mise en Place
Don’t be intimidated by the French! Learning the art of mise en place will save you time in the kitchen. French for everything in its place, mise en place is the process of measuring and prepping all of the ingredients you’ll need for a recipe BEFORE you start to cook. It’s a skill taught in the first days of culinary school to instill a sense of organization. It also allows you to focus fully on cooking once you start, reducing your chance of making a mistake or skipping a step. Set yourself up like you’re hosting a cooking show, with your ingredients prepped and ready on a platter or in small bowls. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked!
Measure Carefully & Accurately
Accuracy is key when you’re baking, so it’s essential to measure your ingredients accurately. I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale, but you can measure properly using measuring cups and spoons. For dry ingredients, like flour and sugar, scoop the ingredients into your measuring cups and level off the top so you’re getting precisely the right amount. Scooping flour can cause it to pack into the measuring cup, which means you’ll have more flour than your recipe calls for, and your baked goods will be dense and dry.
Invest in an Oven Thermometer
Even the best oven can lose calibration over time, which means it’s not operating at the correct temperature. I once had a range that burned every cookie I baked. It turns out that even though I was setting the oven to bake at 350F, the actual oven temperature was more like 425F. Buy an inexpensive oven thermometer to check your oven’s temperature. This will help you make sure you’re cooking at the right temp.
Check Your Leaveners
Leaveners are the ingredients that make your baked goods rise, like baking powder and baking soda. One teaspoon of standard baking soda can contain more than 1200 mg of sodium. Regular baking powder contains about 500 mg per teaspoon. Fortunately, there are sodium-free baking soda and baking powder options to make low sodium baking a possibility!
Making the switch to unsalted butter is a really simple way to reduce sodium in your cooking. Salted butter can contain more than 700 mg of sodium in one stick. Unsalted butter contains zero sodium and is a better choice for a low sodium diet.
Avoid Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added to it. It’s commonly used for baked goods like biscuits or quick breads. The problem with self-rising flour is that it can contain more than 360 mg of sodium in just one-quarter cup with the added baking powder and salt. Low sodium bakers should skip the self-rising flour and add sodium-free leaveners to their recipes instead.
Skip Box Mixes
Boxed baking mixes can save time in the kitchen, but there are better choices for a low sodium lifestyle. Jiffy Baking Mix contains 340 mg per serving, and Bisquick contains 380 mg in just one-third cup of the mix. Baking from scratch is always best for a low sodium diet, but some prepared baking mixes are made for low sodium bakers. Daily Bread Low Sodium Bakery sells salt-free mixes for cookies, pancakes, cornbread, brownies, and muffins.