My daughter and I have been tooling with different salt dough recipes over the past few weeks. Whipping up a batch of the dough is a great post-nap activity that incorporates skills like pouring, rolling, kneading, stirring and (theoretically) measuring for my two year old. It also gives us a great forum for reviewing house rules, like not touching the hot stove or taking things off the kitchen counter.
The first batch we made was hopelessly chunky, the second batch was loopy with too much oil, the third was too sticky, etc. I’ve finally happened across a great salt dough reference site and the come up with the best, most workable salt dough recipe to date. There are two important secrets to this recipe:
A) The recipe uses a mixture of both regular salt AND kosher salt. This helps the dough to be a little gritty, which helps to prevent it gooping up the hands too much. For the recipe below, which is probably the smallest batch a person would normally make, the total amount of salt is roughly 1/2 cup. No matter the total quantity of salt used (if the batch is larger), the ratio of salt should be 3/4 regular table salk, 1/4 kosher.
B) The use of Pam cooking spray (or any non-stick cooking spray). The cooking spray is the real secret ingredient to making the salt dough workable.
- 1/2 cup of table and kosher salt, roughly divided into 3/4 table salt, 1/4 kosher
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of boiled water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- a three-second spritz of nonstick cooking spray (this is the SECRET WEAPON)
- Boil the water.
- If you’re going to use food coloring, add it to the water.
- Put the salt into a bowl
- Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until the salt is as best dissolved as possible (it won’t dissolve that much)
- Add about 1/2 the flour and stir until the mixture is crumbly
- Add vegetable oil, stir some more
- Add the last of the flour and stir
- From here, play with adding a small amount of water (2 tablespoons at a time) and oil (a 1/4 teaspoon at a time) until the mixture seems smooth
- If you go overboard on the water or oil, add salt and flour to even out. The ratio of salt to flour should remain 1:2
- Once the dough is fairly smooth, knead by hand. The dough will be sticky at this point.
- Roll dough into a ball, spray cooking spray on it and re-knead.
From here, form the dough into the desired shape(s). Cook at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on thickness of final shape.