My social media feeds are currently flooded with photos of loaves, boules, and sourdough starters. This is fine, and makes sense, but my stress is rarely relieved by baking. I do, however, love an immersive kitchen project, and building out a collection of fancy salts is just the kind of fun, low-stakes, deceptively easy task we all need right now.
Live más with Taco Bell Salt
Fancy salt is kind of a scam, particularly the flavoured flakes. You can make a flavoured salt with herbs, citrus peels, and whatever wine you have hanging out, but times such as these seem to call for the chaotic seasoning that is Taco Bell salt, at least they do to me:
Like any flavoured salt made with a wet flavouring agent, the process is quite simple. Simply mix the sauce with salt, dehydrate the mixture in the oven, and pulverise it. To make Taco Bell salt, you will need:
6-10 sauce packets, depending on how strongly flavoured you like your salt. Six will gives you a seasoning with the aroma of Taco Bell, but you’ll need a few more than that for the heat to come through.
1/4 cup plain table salt
Combine sauce and salt in the food processor and blend it together until you have a sandy mixture that is uniform in colour. Spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pop it in a 200-degree oven for at least two hours, until the salt is bone dry. Return it to the food processor, pulverise it, and live más my sprinkling the essence of your favourite trash food all over crunchy snacks.
Put those scraps to use
Did you know tomato skins, pepper peels, and pretty much any pulverised veggie scrap can be made into a vibrant, flavourful salt? Well it can and you should. The video above explains the process thoroughly, but it’s pretty much the same for any scrap:
Just take the peels, weigh them, and then toss with an equal amount of salt by weight to coat. Lay the strips out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in a 90-degree C oven until they are as dry as you can get them. Pulverise the strips in the food processor to make a fine, salty powder.
If the salt seems a little damp, don’t worry, to get your salt completely dry, just spread your salt out on a piece of parchment, place the parchment back on the baking sheet, and pop it back in a 90-degree C oven until it’s bone dry. Grind it up once more in the food processor, or use a mortar and pestle to get an even finer powder.
Make a flakey finishing salt in your slow cooker
Running out of Maldon—or “snack salt,” as I like to call it—may not seem like a real “tragedy,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not unpleasant. Luckily, you can make your own flaky, crunchy crystals with Kosher salt, water, and some sort of slow cooking device (I used my Instant Pot).
This post has all the details, but it’s simply a matter of making a super saturated solution, then slowly driving off the water to let big, beautiful flakes form. A ratio of one gram of salt to four millilitres of water works well, and you can scale it up or down as needed.