Even the small amount of salt included in most baking recipes makes an enormous difference. Salt-free cakes are overly sweet but also bland, they called it mild, flat, or dull, you can barely detect any vanilla flavor. Cakes that include salt are also sweet, but the flavors of butter and vanilla were much more balanced and pronounced.
Salt doesn’t just enhance flavors in foods; it also helps mask less agreeable tastes like bitterness. By suppressing bitterness, salt allows more desirable flavors—including sweetness and spices—to come through.
In bread baking, salt controls the activity of yeast, strengthens gluten, and accents the bread’s flavor; it should never be omitted. Adding even a small amount of salt to an egg dish keeps the proteins in the eggs from bonding to each other, thereby producing a weaker protein chain and more tender eggs.
Salt helps improve the texture and flavor of nearly every kind of meat. When salt is applied to raw meat, juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves in the exuded liquid, forming a brine that is eventually reabsorbed by the meat. This brine acts to change the structure of the muscle proteins, helping them hold on to more of their own natural juices.
Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant can also benefit from being salted to draw out their moisture before they’re used in a recipe.