I searched the questions and did not find an answer to my particular question. As the title says, my question is: What effect do water ions have on mash efficiency other than adjusting Ph?
Put another way, do ions like Calcium, sulfate, carbonate, magnesium, etc. have a direct impact on mash efficiency or is their role limited to adjusting Ph?
Back story: Brewed on Sunday for the first time with reverse osmosis water, which has virtually no water ions and a Ph of 7. I used a buffering solution to adjust Ph to 5.2, confirmed with a digital Ph meter. Other than that, I did not add back those ions until the boil phase. My efficiency was horrible. I think it was because I was also using new grain bags that were too tight, but I'm curious whether I should add the salts BEFORE the mash.
Thank you, Sean