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Salt Rising Bread
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Serves/Makes:2 loaves

  • Starter:
  • 1 cup (225 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) grated peeled potato
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • Later:
  • 2 cups (475 ml) warm water
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) active dry yeast
  • 1/8 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
  • 2-1/2 cups (600 ml) all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) softened butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4-1/2 cups (1050 ml) all-purpose or bread flour (additional)
  • Make starter the night before you wish to bake.
  • In heavy saucepan, scald 1 cup (225 ml) milk.
  • Stir in cornmeal, potato, 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar, and 1 tsp (5 ml) salt.
  • Pour this mixture into a clean, scalded quart mason jar.
  • Place the jar in a large bowl.
  • Pour hot tap water into the bowl, at least halfway up the side of the jar.
  • Cover the whole thing with a cloth and let stand overnight in a warm place.
  • (An oven with a pilot light, an electric oven with the oven light on, or set the whole thing on a heating pad turned down to low.
  • You want a constant 100 degree (40 C.) temperature.
  • When the starter is fermented, in a mixing bowl combine 2 cups (475 ml) warm water, yeast, baking soda, and 2-1/2 cups (600 ml) flour.
  • Press the starter through a sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon to force as much of the starter through the mesh as possible.
  • Add the starter to the flour mixture.
  • Stir well and place the bowl in a pan (i.e. roasting pan)of warm water.
  • Cover with a large towel and let rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • When risen, stir in butter, 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar and 1 tsp (5 ml) salt.
  • Gradually add enough of the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms.
  • Turn out on a floured surface and knead 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf.
  • Place in well-greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  • Cover and let double in bulk again.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until lightly browned.
The term salt-rising refers to a process bakers used to use of keeping the starter and dough warm by placing it in a bed of heated rock salt. These starters produce a close-grained bread that slices well for sandwiches and toast. Degerminated cornmeal does not work as well as stoneground meal which still contains the germ. This recipe comes from The Wooden Spoon Bread Book by Marilyn M. Moore, The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.

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