Why does cheese taste salty while having almost no sodium?



When I eat avocado toast, I put a lot of salt on it and it really brings out a salty flavor. When I eat a cream cheese bagel, it already has that same salty flavor even though the cream cheese I used doesn’t contain almost any salt. Why is that?

In: Chemistry

Do you know the brand of cream cheese? Low sodium doesn’t necessarily mean low salt. Potassium salts taste salty without the Sodium and is pretty common as a substitute. So it’s likely there’s either this, or something else being used as a salt substitute.

Some cheeses might contain other compounds, like glutamate, that activate umami taste receptors. Umami is sometimes considered “tasty” or salty in some way.

The bagel is salted too. And I bet it’s way saltier than you might expect. Generally, bread dough is like 2-3% salt by weight – not uncommon to dump in salt by the tablespoon. Even though most of probably don’t eat bread and think “salty”. I would assume bagels to be in the same neighbourhood. Off the top of my head, I’d guess the bagel would be 15-20% of your daily recommended sodium because it’s probably equivalent to, like, 2 slices of bread.