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Experiments with Unleavened Breads, Crackers, Bread sticks & Crumpets

Note. All recipes were tested in a breadmaker that takes up to a 1kg loaf.  A machine with 750g capacity should be ok but for smaller machines the recipes should be scaled down.

There is no problem that I can see to making no added salt bread.To prove the point I decided to make a very simple loaf and it turned out really well.

Anchor bread & pizza flourFor this loaf I used Anchor Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Plain Flour from Woolworths. It is described as strong flour and has a protein level of 11.0g/100g. Normal plain flour for cakes has around 9g/100g.
In the breadmaker I placed (No breadmaker—see method on the flour packet)
330ml water direct from the refrigerator
500g bread flour
(do not use normal "plain" flour)
2 teaspoons  Lowan bread improver
1 sachet of granulated yeast (you may find a 7g sachet is a little too much see below)
I set the machine for white bread, medium crust. The loaf above demonstrates that salt free bread is not rocket science. Try the "proper" (the recipe above was just to prove a point) recipes that came with your bread maker leaving out the salt and using chilled water. Without salt there is more chance of the bread rising too much and falling back to give a hollow top than the reverse. If that happens cut back on the yeast. Bread making requires a little practice—salt or no salt.

A slice of my preferred low salt grain bread (see below).

I have to reduce my salt intake so I have started reading the nutrition labels on packaged food. It did not take me long to realise just how much salt is added to processed foods. I was happy to find that some almost sodium free products (click here)  were available  but I could not find grain bread with with less than about 450 mg per 100g. 

So I bought a bread machine and started to experiment.

See also my efforts at a MUESLI LOAF Below.

I invite your feedback just go to the INDEX OF MY OTHER PAGES and click on the link to send me an email.

All measures are leveled.

T = Tablespoon (20ml not 15ml)

t = teaspoon 5ml

a cup = 250ml

The flour and the water are weighed and you will need a set of digital scales to get accurate results. If you use the reset function of your scales it is more accurate if you add the lightest ingredients first.



This bread may seem complicated but a low sodium bread needs lots of taste as well as a good texture.
I do not miss bought salty bread at all.

285ml(g) Water

1T White vinegar

1T Canola or olive oil

270g Bread flour

135g Wholemeal bread flour This is hard to get see below.

1T Gluten flour (This sort of flour has about 83 gm per 100gm protein)

2T Instant skim milk powder

** 2T LSA mix -- optional

** 2T 5 Seed mix -- can be increased  considerably if you like seeds.

3 T Quick cooking oats

1 T  Wheat germ or Oat bran

2 t Bread improver (Use the amount recommended for 500gm of flour). 

1 to 2t Granulated yeast of a type suitable for use in bread machines

Soland Gluten FlourNOTE    Experiment with the amount of yeast. 1/8 of a teaspon can make a difference.  Start off with 1 t.

To see a sequence of pictures showing the bread progressing through the machine cycle click here.

Set the machine for whole-wheat light crust and follow any specific instructions for a 750gm loaf.

NOTE Sometimes the dry ingredients just float on top and never mix so I give them a bit of a stir when I first put them in. This may be just a characteristic of my machine or something to do with the lack of salt.

The highlighted ingredients will depend on just what you can get locally but you need to substitute something with similar absorbency for each item. You should be able to find LSA mix, if not use almond meal. You can make up a 5 seed mix or a 2 seed mix from the seeds shown in the pictures below.  The recipe is very forgiving and in my daily bread I tend to use up whatever odds and ends I have in small quantitys. Bread flour has more protein than plain flour and it is available in some supermarkets. Wallaby Bakers Flour in 5kg packs I have found in some Coles and 10kg bags of other brands I have found in all sorts of shops that cater to ethnic shoppers.  After hearing that a reader in SA used plain flour I made a loaf using it as an experiment. The plain flour loaf did not raise as high and the bread lacked strength and elasticity. There is another good reason to use bread flour—it is fortified with thiamin while plain flour may not be. Whole meal bread flour is harder to find. However in a pinch you can replace it with the more readily available and lower protein wholemeal plain flour in this recipe.  A  visit to your local Indian grocery could pay dividends as they have ATTA flour which is a fine wholemeal wheat flour and they usually have bulk bags of other flours. Soland gluten flour is available in some health food stores.  

Always check to see if a smooth dough ball forms soon after kneading commences. It should be just tacky like a post-it note. If it is not make small adjustments by adding teaspoons of flour or water and adjust the recipe next time.

Defiance Bread FlourAll photos taken at the same size using . A low cost close-up system

LSA mix is a grind of Linseed, Sunflower Kernels and Almonds.

5 Seed mix is a combination of Sesame Seeds, Pipitas, Sunflower Kernels, Poppy seeds , Linseeds.

I live in Sydney Australia and it is hard to believe but I have not found it easy to buy Wholemeal bread flour locally so I am buying it and most of the above ingredients from www.basicingredients.com.au . If you cannot get wholemeal bread flour at least try an organic wholemeal flour. Contaminants tend to collect on the outside of the wheat. This is discarded when manufacturing white flour but kept for wholemeal. Using "Organic" for the wholemeal flour avoids possible residues and will not add much to the cost of a loaf.

RESULTS. (for an older recipe but sodium should not vary)

bread nutrition table

The above was my first effort at a spread sheet using Open Office, do not rely on the results. You can see that the sodium level is about 21mg/100g. Most of the sodium comes from the skim milk about 73 to 88mg and from the commercial bread improver 51mg (check this with your particular brands of ingredients). The total comes to around 157mg for a 773g loaf ie. 20mg per 100g which compares well with the usual 450mg per 100g for my store bought grain bread.

The texture was light and flexible with some holes but none completely through any slices.  The crust was great when using the light crust setting. This is now our standard sandwich bread and it is also good toasted especially the lower end which is denser. 


Bread making toolsThe picture shows some helpful tools. I gave up using a tea towel and bought some gloves. I could not cut straight so bought a guide. The tray is vital to catch crumbs as is a brush to clean the crumbs from the guide. I bought a cheap bread knife and threw it away then  spent 1/2 a hour to get the old but high quality knife sharp and I found it then worked better than my cheap electric knife which also went in the bin. If you are about to buy a bread maker and use it for your daily bread consider one that can produce a square slice that is suitable for toasting and sandwiches. Generally these use a single paddle and make a vertical loaf.  I use a Breville BB290 (see Choice for a review). I have updated to the BB290 successor click here for review. I lay the bread on its side to cut it in the guide but bread from a horizontal type of machine may rise above the guide. You may like to try a bow type knife that gives some giudence. A digital scale is vital. Look for 1g resolution and a fast display that does not blank off for some seconds while it recalculates the new weight. When you use a postal scale you just dump a letter on and check the weight but for cooking you will be adding small amounts to get the correct measure and blanking off is a pain. See this short video for an example of what to aim for. KITCHEN SCALE DISPLAY

The scale should also have a "Tare" or "Reset" function that that enables you to reset the scale to zero after adding things so the next thing added on top can be weighed. For accuracy use a light container and add the lightest ingredients first. If the scale can show negative values it is a bonus. I often use this feature when wanting say 20g of grated frozen ginger, I weigh the ginger, reset (Tare) the scale to zero then grate some of the lump off and reweigh. What I have grated of the lump shows as a minus amount. When the correct amount registers I scrape it all off the grater into the recipe. Your scale may have a quirk that affects accuracy check it out here.

I have no idea about the keeping qualitys of this bread but for me that is not a problem as it is sliced and kept frozen then thawed by microwave or toasted as required.  I make a loaf every few days so there is plenty of room in the freezer. I  make up 12 batches of the dry ingredients without the yeast which is added on top of the ingredients in the baking pan.

After some experimenting I found that the recipe is flexible and that so far I have been able to eat all the results. 

After looking at nutrition information using the free USDA SR17 software I can see why whole grain flour is important so I have tested some loaves using 200g of both flours. This gives a slightly denser loaf that I prefer for toasting.

Raw Rolls to finished rolls


This grain bread makes wonderful hamburger buns and dinner rolls. I  use the machine dough setting then divide the dough in half and knead to form 4 hamburger buns. The other half I knead into 8 dinner rolls. I place them on baking paper and after covering with cling film and resting in a warm but turned off oven for 1/2 hour to double in size I bake on the top shelf for 15 minutes at 200C.


side by side machines

Plain flour v beradThe white flour used for all recipes is BREAD FLOUR ( Bakers flour) This has special properties that help make a good loaf. It is also fortified with thiamin. It is not that hard to find in supermarkets. Lighthouse, Wallaby and Defiance are three brands. These test loaves were baked side by side in bread makers with confirmed identical performance.

Make your own bread improver.

Wallaby Bread Improver10/09 Lowan no longer sells bread improver but Lotus brand is sold in health food stores. 9/10 Coles now stocks Healthy Choice bread improver and Wallaby brand can be purchased from www.onlyoz.com.au or some IGA. Although commercial bread improvers have superior performance they have a high sodium level of  around 1000mg/100g however they are used is such small amounts that they only add around 10mg/100g to the finished loaf.healthy choice bread improver

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) makes a good bread improver and is needed in very small amounts. The 1984 flour regulations in the UK allow up to 200mg/kg to be added to bread or flour.  A 125g packet may cost $10 but there will be enough for around 1000 loaves. Ascorbic acid degrades with heat and light so I keep mine in the freezer. A level teaspoon of Melrose brand crystalline vitamin C ascorbic acid powder weighs around 4000mg and you are only going to need around 100mg for 750g loaf. The way to get around trying to weigh or spoon out such small amounts is to dilute the ascorbic acid with flour.
Mix 1 level teaspoon of ascorbic acid with 6 tablespoons of flour and use one level teaspoon of the mixture per kg of flour to give 160mg/kg. It is near enough to use 1 to 2 teaspoons of the mixture per loaf. The picture on the left shows (from the left), no bread improver and ascorbic acid used in a basic no added salt white bread recipe. 

From Dave Brigden, consultant editor to the Meniere's Australia newsletter Equilibrium.

This is a very simple recipe, and one that I now use all the time.

Lighthouse bread mixIt uses 30% Lighthouse "Crusty Ancient Grains" Bread Mix and 70% plain white bakers' flour. This results in a very nice white bread with some grains and a little wholemeal in it.

It has more flavour than a loaf using only plain flour. It has the advantage of not needing gluten flour or bread improver.

The loaf weighs about 720g after baking. The bread has a sodium level of a little under 120mg/100g.

Here are the instructions:

Add 315 ml water (or 315g, if you weigh it) to your bread pan. Add 150g of bread mix. Add 350g of Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Flour (or any other strong plain baking flour). Add the contents of one of the sachets of yeast (included in the "Crusty Ancient Grains" bread mix packet).

I set the program on my bread machine for white bread and set the crust to "hard" & the loaf size to the maximum, so as to get a little extra baking time, which this loaf seems to need.

Check after it has been mixing a few minutes, in case it is too dry or too wet, which can be adjusted by adding quite a small amount of extra water or flour, respectively.

If you want a more wholemeal style, you can substitute some wholemeal flour for some of the Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Flour - I sometimes substitute wholemeal flour for 50 to 100g of the bakers flour. This will also make for a somewhat more dense loaf (less airy).


When you run out of the 6g sachets of yeast that come with the Crusty Ancient Grains mix, you can use 6g of your favourite brand of instant yeast instead.  6g of yeast is about 1.8 level teaspoons. If you use a teaspoon measure (5ml), you can use slightly less than two level teaspoons.

You can use either yeast sealed in sachets or bulk instant yeast. If you use bulk yeast, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. If, after some months, it becomes less effective, either increase the quantity or simply buy a new pack of bulk yeast.

Note that sachets of yeast often contain more than 6g (there are 7g and 8g sachets), so when you use a different yeast sachet to the one supplied with the Crusty Ancient Grains mix (which does contain exactly 6g), you should measure the yeast.

As bread recipes perform differently in different bread machines, some small adjustments may be necessary to get the size of loaf you desire.

Lighthouse bread If you have a small bread machine, you may want to reduce the quantities of water, flour and bread mix to make a smaller loaf. You could reduce all the quantities by 10%, for example.

The size of the loaf (but not the weight) can also be reduced by substituting some wholemeal flour for some of the plain flour, or by using a little milk (try 50 or 100ml) in place of some of the water. Milk will also help to make a browner crust.

I have successfully made a large loaf, in a large breadmaker with a horizontal pan, by using 360g of water, 170g of bread mix, and 400g flour. That loaf was 840g when baked.

In Sydney, we have been able to buy Lighthouse "Crusty Ancient Grains" Bread Mix and Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Flour in Coles supermarkets.

Regards, Dave

Laucke easy low salt loaf.

Following the posting of Dave's recipe I had  a tip from Chris who had difficulty getting hold of the Lighthouse bread mix and hadLaucke soy and linseed used a similar method with Laucke Multigrain Soy & Linseed which can be found in Woolworths. Note Laucke also has another multigrain with a higher sodium level. Make sure you get the correct one.

Laucke Multigrain Soy & Linseed has a sodium level of 246mg/100g so diluting it a little more than 50:50 is preferable.  It comes in a 2.4Kg box so using 240g will get you 10 loaves and when each 240g is mixed with 260g of bread flour. This mixture results in a nominal sodium level for the finished loaf of 120mg/100g. The recipe I ended up with was the above mix plus 330g/ml cold water and one and a quarter level teaspoons of yeast. The resulting bread had a great texture and still had plenty of grains. Some adjustment of the yeast may be necessary when switching yeasts after using up the one supplied. Update -- I add 1 teaspoon of bread improver and sometimes 1/2 a cup of seeds.

Regards, Peter


Dave liked the idea of a low cost bread  high in oats and with a low GI and no added salt. This recipe is the result of ping pong testing where we each made a test loaf in turn slowly making improvements. As we have different bread makers  it was interesting to say the least. After about 12 test loaves we settled on the following recipe. Like the others shown here consider it a work in progress so please let me know how it performs for you. Unlike the grain loaf above the ingredients are easy to obtain but having more wholemeal flour it is a dense loaf that weighs in at almost 1kg.

See the above recipe for general instructions but use the whole wheat loaf setting for a 1 Kg loaf set to medium crust.
Into a container on your digital scales add:-

nutritian panel

While the cracked wheat is soaking measure out into a separate container:-

Mix the ingredients and add to the bread pan.
Stir the mixture around a little with a non metallic utensil before starting the machine. This is to ensure that within a few seconds of the machine starting the ingredients are melded together.
I recommend you slice this loaf when it is slightly warm, seal it in a bag and freeze it. A couple of slices easily de-thaw in the microwave and it toasts beautifully direct from the freezer.

Lowan Wholemeal Plain

Test loaves were made with Tip Top High grade flour (disconinued so use another bread flour) and Lowan stone ground wholemeal flour.


I love to have a slice of fruit bread in the mornings and although sweet breads usually have less sodium I thought that to make a nutritious version of a fruit bread without adding salt would be a good next step. This bread is soft,dark and moist and may not keep well but I slice it, keep it frozen and I eat it warm from the microwave first thing in the morning with a cup of tea.

See the above recipe for general instructions but use the sweet loaf setting for a 1 Kg loaf.

Mix the following and allow to stand while you prepare the other ingredients then add to the dough at the recommended fruit adding time.
Pour the liquids in the order that your bread maker requires. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix before adding to the bread maker.
This makes a 12 Kg  loaf  which has about the size of a normal white 640g loaf.

You can use store bought Mixed spice but I use the following mixture of powders.

By Volume.

Seed Loaf

Here is a version of a seed loaf. It could be used as a sort a biscuit when sliced thinly. It is a simple easy process that only takes a few minutes work.
You could try it in a tin but when I did it stuck like concrete.

In a bowl place

250g warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons or a sachet of yeast

Whisk and let stand while you prepare in a mixing bowl
100g of bran or equal weights of oat bran and wheat germ — any sort of "bran" really
150g of wholemeal flour
100g of seeds. A mixture of a range of seeds, see the mix above as an example

Using a wooden spoon  work the liquid into the dry ingredients to make a uniform paste.
Place the paste onto a sheet of baking paper, spray with cooking spray and form into a roll then clip the paper together.
Leave for about 1 hour in a warm place to double in size.
Bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes then unclip and bake a further 10 - 15 minutes.
Cool on a rack.

Experiments with Unleavened Breads.

Indian Rotis

I was searching at an Indian grocer for a source of bread making flour when I spotted some Pillsbury brand Chakki Atta flour which stated it was 100% whole wheat (I was told "atta" means whole wheat) so I bought a 1Kg packet to try in my normal bread. On the back was a recipe and instructions for making Rotis. There was no mention of salt so I decided to have a go. First thing was to get hold of the iron skillet called a "Tawa" (Tava).
I rang a few Indian grocers from the phone book and ended up at a warehouse type shop. In the far corner was a pile of various types of Tawa. The $8 one I chose was 30cm diameter and was very obviously made by hand. At home I removed some rust and seasoned it by heating and wiping on vegetable oil then set about making my first Rotis. There are websites that give a rundown of what is required but I think the main thing needed is a lot of practice. Of my first batch only one puffed up on the pan but they all were very edible.

Flame puffing should take about 15 seconds with the gas correctly set. I took the rack off between times or it got so hot it burned holes which let the steam out.
Puffing Rotis on a flame

My $8 tawa is now in regular use as a high temperature griddle for fillet steak. I use a little oil, 2 minutes 30 seconds on each side and 2 minutes rest. A rub over with a metal scourer ball under hot water and dry while still hot ensures no rust in storage and It should last forever.

Unleavened bread
There are no cracker type biscuits that I know of that can be classed as very low sodium except matzo. I was running out of  the small Mosmarks Matzo Crackers that I prefer to the normal large sheets so I thought I would have a go at making something in the style of Matzo. There is nothing in Matzo except flour and water so a recipe is not difficult to come up with.

Unleavened bread (small round)
Plain Crackers.  Atta on the left White on right.
Mix together knead into a dough and roll out as thin as possible. (if not thin they will be doughy in the center)
Cut into desired shape
Prick with a fork or you will end with puff balls like the one on the right.
Bake for 3 to 4 minutes in a very hot oven on a pizza stone or a metal cookie sheet.
Update 21/6/2009 10:47 AM. I had great success placing the crackers on a sheet of baking paper and transferring them in one go onto a flat metal sheet in a 220C oven. When cooked I could pull them all out on the sheet and pop the next sheet in. The hardest part of the process is handling the delicate uncooked crackers and using a paper sheet eliminates a couple of steps.
Production proceeds well, as the first 10 or so cook you can roll out the next lot. When cooked just scoop them out onto a tray for a couple of minutes to cool. The hard part is the rolling out. A pasta maker made the job easier and more uniform.

I prefer Indian Atta flour as it is wholemeal. You can get it at any Indian grocery shop. Kneading is hard work and it is necessary to press down with one hand on top of the other to work the stiff dough. Keep at it until you have a pliable dough that can be stretched.

I run the dough through the pasta maker on the thicker setting, fold it and run through again and repeat the process a few times then set it for about 1mm and give it a final roll through. I cut the shape with a cookie cutter then without lifting the cutter I remove the surrounding material then slide it to the top of the board and with my fingers inside on top of the dough I lift the cutter. When about 10 are made I place them on the hot tray in the oven. When they start to brown things happen real fast so keep an eye on them. With experience you learn in what order and position to place them so they all brown evenly.

We use these crackers with various dips based on ricotta cheese so plain is OK but because you are in charge you can easily add some flavour to your crackers. I added some sesame seeds with success and will experiment further. Please let me know if you find a spice combination you like.
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                                                   Other Things to make
I guess that eventually you will miss having crumpets on a low sodium diet. The best I could find in the shops had a sodium level of 600mg/100g. So here is a recipe.

Home made crumpets.aa
The crumpets on the left were mini versions made with egg rings. I was finally able to find a supplier who has real crumpet rings made locally.
Wheat Free world specializes in allergy cookery advice and supplies. www.wheatfreeworld.com.au

Big non stick rings are available from BBQ sections of  Woolworths and Big W. Look for cooking rings as opposed to egg rings.

Mix the above together than add
Beat very well with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for an hour.
I sat it on top of my CRT computer monitor (make sure it does not rise and overflow). Wait until it has doubled in size.
Beat the batter again for a minute and rest it for half an hour in that warm spot.

Beat until smooth but try to keep the air in the mix
You may need to adjust the thickness of the mix by adding water.
Next time I will set the bowl aside in a warm place for 30 minutes at this point to let the yeast do a little more work.
The picture below is what you should see within 60 seconds or so if the mix is right and the temperature of the hot plate is correct.
Make a note of how much water had to added so you will know for next time.

Your crumpets need to be cooked in a pan on high heat. My first attempt was using an  electric fry pan but it would not get hot enough to form the holes in the crumpet (holes should appear almost immediately). I had better results on the gas stove.
I wish I had some larger rings (see above) but had to make do with egg rings. Some egg rings have a ridge around the bottom formed when they were made. With plain aluminum rings this can be removed by scraping with the back of a knife. With smooth well oiled rings (Canola oil) there should not be a problem removing them. A tip from Lola at wheat free world was to completely dip the rings in oil held in a round tray of some sort.

Crumpet cooking
As soon as your crumpet looks like the above get the ring off then lift the crumpet with a spatula to check the bottom. (Hold it right up in the air). After some practice you should get the hang of it. When the bottom is ready and the top firm turn your crumpet over and lightly cook the top.

Bread Sticks
Bread sticks

I used a simple white bread recipe (see top of page) with 3 tablespoons of oil in the bread machine on the dough setting. I rolled the dough out about 1.5cm thick and sliced it 1cm wide, stretched the strips and laid them out well spaced on baking paper, coated them with wash made from slightly diluted egg yolk and sprinkled with herbs or seeds. I baked them for 15 minutes at 200C then left them in the turned down oven to crisp up for better keeping.

Your comments are welcome. less.sodium@gmail.com