“People compelled to control their sodium intake will welcome The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book.” Booklist
“Over 100 tempting recipes are included...recommended.” Library Journal
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Donald Gazzaniga, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, was headed for a heart transplant. Urged by his doctor to keep his sodium intake "under 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams a day," Don headed for the kitchen and went to work devising recipes for delicious low-sodium dishes that added up to less than 500 milligrams daily. The results? Don's name has been removed
Donald Gazzaniga, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, was headed for a heart transplant. Urged by his doctor to keep his sodium intake "under 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams a day," Don headed for the kitchen and went to work devising recipes for delicious low-sodium dishes that added up to less than 500 milligrams daily. The results? Don's name has been removed from the transplant list, and Don shared his recipes with the world in The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook.
Readers of that first book have kept in touch with Don via his Web site, and have written him letters asking for more. What they most often ask for is a book with more bread recipes, more recipes for cakes and cookies and muffins and tea breads, more of all those great baked things--in short, for the book you now hold in your hands. Don teamed up with his daughter, professional nutritionist Dr. Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, to fill The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book with recipes that are as healthy and delicious as possible. As in the previous book, they tell you just how much sodium is in each ingredient. They provide satisfactory substitutes for flavorings that patients with congestive heart failure and high blood pressure shouldn't have. All easy to make and delicious to eat. Go for it!
“People compelled to control their sodium intake will welcome The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book.” Booklist
“Over 100 tempting recipes are included...recommended.” Library Journal
Bread Machines and Bread Baking
When I worked in Hollywood the phrase "Trust me on this one" was really a signal that the listener was about to get hoodwinked. But I mean it honestly when I say "Trust me on this one." The bread machine has made bread making a whole lot easier, and surprisingly, it has helped make the bread much better.
Bread machines can do it all:
Mix the ingredients
Knead the dough
"Rise" the dough
Bake the dotigh ... or you can use it to do just part of the job — remove the dough after it has been mixed and kneaded (and, if desired, risen) and form your own breads by hand, from baguettes to cinnamon rolls to bagels, pizza bases, or bread loaves.
In my opinion, both methods of baking bread — machine and hand baking — have something to be said for them, but for the heart patient, there is a huge plus in using the machine for kneading. Most of the recipes in this book call for kneading in the machine, although my recipes can be made by hand as well. The main reason I use the bread machine for kneading is that this book was designed for those with heart disease. Although the term "heart dis-ease" can mean different things to different patients, it almost always involves a loss of enduring physical strength. Some patients even only have the use of one arm or one hand and some must rely on the help of others. For a heart patient, there is a huge plus in using the machine for kneading.
Since most of the sodium in regular bread comes directly from the salt Lised in the mixture (2,350 mg sodium per level teaspoon), no-salt bread might seem to present a problem, and adjustments do have to be made. Salt, which is the principal flavor in ordinary bread, actually slows the fermentation of the yeast. The recipes are designed with that in mind.
Do not use "salt substitutes" in baking bread by either method. They won't work. Salt inhibits yeast, so most regular bread recipes have more yeast in them than we need. Our salt-free recipes have been tested for the amount of yeast listed. Any more and the bread may "explode" on you and collapse. When we remove the salt from bread recipes, we need to reduce the amount of yeast. Sometimes, if your bread doesn't rise properly or if it collapses, change to the "rapid bake" cycle to keep the fast-rising yeast from overworking.
One advantage of the bread machine is that you don't have to "proof" the yeast, as you do using the old method. Just set the warmed liquid ingredient(s) into the pan first, follow with the flour and other dry ingredients, and set the yeast in a dry spot on the top. Voilà!
The machine's consistently better rise is because the bread machine provides a draft-free environment that never gets too hot or too cold. Another plus is that dough comes out better when we use the bread machine knead cycle than when we hand-knead it. This is because the machine is even-handed and ensures that all ingredients are mixed well. It also provides a controlled temperature for the first rise.
Bread machines are quite easy to operate. Just follow our recipes. Begin with the ingredients: put them into the pan of your machine, liquids first, then flour, and yeast on the top. Insert the pan into the machine, close the lid, set the machine for whatever setting the recipe calls for, and press START.
Most machines take about 1½ hours to knead and perform the first rise. If you've set the machine just to mix and knead the dough, remove it after the kneading and press down the dough (never "punch" down dough). Shape it into loaves, buns, rolls, or whatever other baked foods you are making. Cover it with a light cloth or waxed paper and let rise again outside the machine, covered, for about 45 minutes. Bake in your oven at the suggested temperature.
If you plan to do the whole process from mixing through to baking in the bread machine, simply put in the ingredients, turn the machine on, and wait the usual three-plus hours. Remove the baked bread from the pan when the whole job is done. Of course, smaller foods like biins and rolls must be shaped by hand.
Each machine is a bit different. Some will take longer to knead; some will take longer to bake. Baking temperatures also vary. During the kneading period feel free to open the lid and make sure there is enough liquid for the ball to form. (But never open the machine after the baking cycle starts.) If it's too sticky (unless it is a sweet bread, which is sticky by nature), add a little bit of flour, enough for the bread to become pliable without the stickiness. ½ Many of the recipes in this book call for 5 cups flour (my bread machine will make up to 6 cups). That quantity of flour bakes into a 2- to 2½-pound loaf. My recipes often use all this amount because it allows you to make enough bread for a week or so at one session, freezing most of it and taking out just what is needed at any one time. That's better than spending 3½ hours a couple of times a week just to make a 16-slice single loaf. With a machine, it takes no more time to make a large recipe than a small one. And bread, as you know, freezes well and easily.
The best way to make sure each of our recipes produces good results is to check the dough after the mixing cycle has begun, adding water or flour as seem to be needed.
Our recipes were designed using a Breadman TR810, a machine that I have personally come to like and trust over all others. It's the most reliable machine I've used and the easiest. (I have also used the Panasonic/National, Oster, West Bend, Welbilt, Williams Sonoma, and Zojirushi, and others.) The price for a double-paddle Breadman machine at this writing ranges from $99 to $149, depending upon where you find it and whether or not it's on sale. Generally around Christmastime these machines are advertised with a sale price. The factory backs up their machines within the warranty period with no questions asked. There are other good machines, but the inexpensive ones are not very good ones, even though they may come from a reputable manufacturer. In this case, you do get what you pay for. Whatever brand you decide to buy, I highly recommend a double-paddle type.
Everyone to whom I've recommended a machine has thanked me and told me it was worth every dollar spent.
Converting from Bread Machine to Making Bread by Hand
The only change in converting a bread machine recipe to a hand-knead recipe is the way you handle the yeast. To use a bread machine recipe to make handmade bread, just dissolve the yeast in warm (not hot) water with a pinch or so of sugar (not too much sugar, since too much will slow the yeast down, or even kill it; it makes the bread hard and thicker). (If you have trouble with your loaves collapsing, some manuals might tell you just the opposite. But they have it backwards.) Mix in the liquid, then knead. Bake the loaf in a bread pan in a preheated oven at 350°F. for up to 30 minutes. A 3-cup recipe makes a 1-pound loaf of bread — use an 8.5 × 4.5-inch loaf pan. If you are making one of our recipes calling for 5 or 6 cups of flour, use two of the pans that size.
To make a yeast "ball," or "foam," I usually use whatever liquid is in the recipe — water, orange juice, or whatever I've chosen. Never use tap water unless your water comes from a well. City water is loaded with chlorine and chlorine can kill yeast. (It will also nullify a sourdough starter.) Use ¼ to ½ cup of the liquid. Heat it to 110°F. either in your microwave or on top of the stove. It doesn't take much heating since it's probably already at room temperature. Stir in the yeast and a pinch or more of sugar to get the yeast started.
You can also add dry active yeast into the flour without doing the above. If you do, raise the temperature of the liquid about 10 to 15 degrees.
Always use the amount of yeast the recipe calls for. But if you want to make a double recipe, don't double the yeast; use 1½ times the amount. Conversely, in cutting a recipe in half, remember that in these recipes without salt the less yeast, the better the rise. If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon yeast (which is 3 teaspoons) and you want to cut the recipe in half, use 2 teaspoons yeast.
Converting from Handmade to Bread Machine Baking
To convert the other way, use bread machine yeast and place it dry on top of the flour in the machine.
Rising the Dough
After you form the dough into the shape of whatever you are baking, you'll want to put it to rise in an area that is about 75°F. to 90°F. Not much warmer and not much cooler. If you have a cold house, heat your oven slightly. Or, if you have an old-fashioned gas oven with a pilot light, you can rise the bread in it. The pilot will give you the right warmth. (Many of today's gas ovens, however, use electronic starters and have no pilot light.)
I like to heat my oven slightly, turn off the heat (about 90°F.), and let my dough rise in there. To effectively use your oven for rising time, cover each recipe lightly with oil spray, waxed paper, or a very light cloth (not oiled). If your house isn't warm, then turn on your oven at its "lowest" temperature setting for a minute or two (don't exceed 100°E), turn it off, and set the dough inside. The temperature in the oven should be between 80°F. and 90°F. If for some reason your oven gets too hot, open the door and let it cool down for a few minutes. Then place dough in oven and close the door. Let it rise for about 45 minutes.
(Or you could do what my mother used to do. She had an old heating pad she used for her back pains. She would just set the bread in its pan or on its baking sheet onto the heating pad, plug it in, and in 1 hour she had a perfect rise.)
Another option is to refrigerate the dough in a large lightly greased mixing bowl, covered, for 12 to 24 hours on the top shelf of the refrigerator, where it's warmest. The dough will rise to a perfect height. Bring it out, press it down (never "punch" dough down), and let it rise again at room temperature. Perfect. (Room temperature is always figured at 65°F. to 75°F.)
Your dough is ready when it has doubled in size in the baking pan. Bake according to the instructions. In most cases, when the bread is done, remove it from the pan and set it on a cooling rack. Not doing this will cause the bread to turn into a "wet log."
Many of the ingredients called for in this book's recipes are available at your local supermarket. In addition, you can find a wealth of information about low-sodium cooking on our Web site, www.megaheart.com, including the question-and-answer section and by clicking on "chef" at that address. We welcome your letters.
Your choice of flour will determine your success with each recipe you select. You'll want a high-quality unbleached, unbromated flour that has at least 12 grams of protein per cup. In most of my recipes I use a "best for bread" flour or flour with a notation on the package that it is good for bread machine baking. These flours are milled with bread machine baking in mind and often contain more protein, about 20 grams per cup, and more gluten than the approximately 12 grams of protein per cup of all-purpose flour.
Wheat is the most common flour used in bread baking. It includes all-purpose flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour, and whole wheat pastry flour. It is generally rich in gluten, a protein that gives dough its elasticity and strength. When yeast and flour are mixed with liquid, and then kneaded or beaten, the gluten traps the carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the yeast.
Whole wheat flour has less gluten and makes denser loaves, which is why we often increase the gluten by adding some all-purpose or white unbleached bread flour for lighter, taller loaves. It's also why cookies, cakes, and other recipes using only whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour must also contain baking powder or baking soda.
To make a good whole wheat bread, add bread machine white unbleached flour to the whole wheat flour. Also add 1 level table-spoon vital wheat gluten for each cup of whole wheat flour you use. Whole wheat flour has bran in it, and bran cuts the gluten strands during the rise, neutralizing them. The neutralized gluten fails to trap the carbon dioxide generated by the yeast. That is why it is difficult to make a successful bread that is 100 percent whole wheat. Without the added gluten, you'll probably get a loaf solid enough to play football with.
Whole wheat flour designed for bread machines is available in much of the West (Stone Buhr Flour), but doesn't at this writing seem to be available elsewhere. A great whole wheat flour for bread machines, though, can be found at www.bobsredmill.com or at www.truefoodsmarket.com. Purchase their standard whole wheat flour. Locally, your market carries national brands such as Pillsbury, Gold Medal, and possibly King Arthur Whole Wheat flour.
Substituting 1 cup white flour for 1 cup whole wheat flour helps to cut this effect. I use a 1:2 ratio. In a 3-cup recipe, that would be 2 cups white bread machine flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. To that I will add only 2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten, since the white flour I use has enough in it to compensate.
A flour that is relatively new, but now widely available, is whole wheat pastry flour. This flour has a rich flavor, is higher in fiber (4 grams per ¼ cup), and rises beautifully when used with recipes calling for baking powder or baking soda. You can replace white flour in any of my muffin, waffle, cookie, pie crust, or pastry recipes with this whole wheat pastry flour. I use whole wheat pastry flour from Bob's Red Mill, out of Oregon, but you can find this pastry flour most anywhere, from Pillsbury to other brands. Often they use the phrase "specialty flour."
For the bulk of my bread recipes I use a Montana white bread flour (Stone Buhr is one), or a flour from Bob's Red Mill in Oregon. Wheat, of course, is not the only grain from which we can produce flour. Corn, rice, rye, oats, and more are used in baking. If one is used in a recipe here, the recipe will let you know whether anything different from wheat flour is necessary.
Yeast breads need just the right amount of yeast. This can be tricky. If your bread machine loaf collapses, for instance, your recipe will need an adjustment, and in most cases it's to cut the yeast measurement down. Try ½ less teaspoon the next time.
There may be another reason. During the kneading process, reach into the machine a bit and just touch the dough. If it's not slightly sticky, it's probably too dry. You may want to add 1 table-spoon liquid. If it's too wet, then this loaf may also collapse during the rise. Part of the balancing act is that we don't want dough too dry, nor do we want it too wet. If your dough is too wet, after a few minutes of kneading, slowly add more flour.
Always use bread machine yeast for recipes in this book. Do not use rapid-rise yeast. Bread machine yeast is a highly active instant yeast especially suited to breads made in bread machines. However, it also is equally effective for baking when a bread machine is not used. For instance, 2¼ teaspoons bread machine yeast is equivalent to 1 envelope dry yeast. Introduce it into bread machines in a dry state, and put it on top of dry ingredients, such as flour. I use Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast exclusively. I have tried all others, but Fleischmann's has been the most consistent.
Baking Powders and Baking Soda
Some of the recipes in this book call for baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast as the rising material. For those, Featherweight Baking Powder and Ener-G Baking Soda are suggested. (Ener-G Baking Powder will not work for the recipes in this book, with the exception of cookies and muffins; use only Featherweight.) Both are low in sodium, compared to the ordinary baking powder and baking soda.
Featherweight uses potassium bicarbonate as its base. Because potassium bicarbonate produces less gas than regular baking powder, we have to use at least twice the amount and sometimes three times. If there is anything you may not like about this product, it might be the baking-powder "flavor," especially notable in white flour batter.
Ener-G Baking Soda is a calcium carbonate product. The trick is to double the amount of Ener-G over what you would normally use, and get the batter into the hot oven quickly. For your information, ½ teaspoon regular baking soda contains 629.3 mg sodium; Ener-G contains 0 mg.
And then there are some particularly tasty recipes that just won't rise enough without double-action baking powder — the baking powder most cooks think of as "regular" baking powder. Calumet or Clabber Girl double-acting baking powder will work with any recipe in this book that uses Featherweight Baking Powder. The general rule for low-sodium diets is to use a quarter of the amount of Featherweight listed. That is, if the recipe says 1 tablespoon Featherweight, use only ¾ teaspoon Calumet or other double-acting baking powder. (Note: There are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.) Using the higher-sodium regular baking powder is up to you. If you can handle the sodium levels, then do it. It's no secret that it will make the recipe work better, but you will have to calculate the added sodium into each serving: ½teaspoon of double-acting baking powder contains 243.8 mg; divide by the number of servings to find how much sodium it adds to each serving. And if you have a muffin you love that doesn't rise enough, try adding ¼teaspoon (122 mg) double-action baking powder to the recipe to help give it that extra kick.
Excerpted from The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book by Donald A. Gazzaniga, Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo. Copyright © 2003 Donald A. Gazzaniga. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Don Gazzaniga retired from the communications industry a few years ago. Since he changed his diet to the very low-sodium dishes he has devised, he is again able to pursue his hobby of fishing as well as take moderate walks. He lives in Loomis, California.
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No salt? It works. Wonderful book. Thank you.