Copyright 2016 Accademia dei Georgofili
Dietary salt (sodium chloride) consumption is considered the major causal factor of hypertension and, subsequently, of cardiovascular diseases and for this reason salt reduction in the human diet is recommended worldwide by national and international health agencies. In Italy the salt reduction initiative is part of the Programme “Health gaining” administered by the Ministry of Health. One of the aims of this program is to monitor and reduce salt intake by the Italian population by diminishing also the amount of salt currently used in processed foods. Bread was identified as one of the major contributors to salt intake, because it is consumed daily and in higher amounts with respect to other foods. Within this frame, and in particular the MINISAL project financed by the Ministry of Health, the CREA-AN (formerly INRAN) of Roma undertook the first nationwide survey to determine salt content in both the Italian artisanal and industrial bread to establish the starting point for salt reduction. The EUSAL project financed by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies was instead undertaken to understand the biochemical, technological, organoleptic significance of the use of sodium chloride/substitutes in soft wheat bread baking. The gluten fractions of 123 grain samples belonging to 54 soft wheat Italian varieties were studied. Grains were milled into flours which were analyzed by means of farinograph, alveograph, Rapid Visco Analyzer and rheofermentometer in the absence or presence of different amounts of salt. Sensory analyses were also performed on bread containing different amounts of salt so as to assess the minimum perceivable difference in salt content and to evaluate the impact of salt reduction by means of 2 different strategies: use of replacers (PanSalt®) and uneven distribution of salt. The analysis of aroma volatiles was also performed on bread containing different amounts of salt/replacer.