Why does salt make such a big difference in recipes or adding it to food? Adding a little makes such a big difference. Why?

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Edit: Thank you everyone for your responses! I’ve learned so much reading through them and I’m happy to have sparked an engaging discussion!

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Salt is its own flavor, but it also acts to enhance other flavors by increasing the “polling rate” of the cells in our tongue which detect flavors. By the same token a lack of salt will make most foods taste bland or one-dimensional.

Presumably this is an evolved response to encourage animals to seek out and consume salt, given how critical it is for us.

Your body craves 3 things. Salt sugar and fat. In the wild these can be harder to find, so when your body senses them it’s like hey this is good we need this. A million years of evolution hasn’t caught up with our ability to easily obtain these things.

salt causes reactions by breaking bonds on certain items, it irritates surface level bonds and releases those innermost compounds( the nutrients) and that’s usually the flavor part of our food.

People have a very strong taste for salt. Because unless you live by the ocean salt is very hard to come by and if you don’t have any in your diet it will start to cause problems.

Salt creates chemistry and chemical reactions when added to food. These reactions are like fuel to taste and consistency.

A good example is bread. If you add all the ingredients in one batch of bread and mix the salt with everything else, you will get a different texture, consistency and taste compared to the exact same recipe but adding the salt at the end.

In the bread scenario, it is better to add the salt at the end so it helps form/bond the gluten (bread glue) faster.