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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recipe: Salt Rising Bread

I was re-reading "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder to create a test for VHTS. It kept mentioning salt-rising bread, so I looked it up. This is a bread developed in the early to mid 1800's (1830-1840's) by pioneers who couldn't get a hold of "already-made yeast"- either because they couldn't afford it or because they were too isolated. This takes planning, and a willingness for a stinky house, but if you don't have yeast and want a risen bread, this recipe will be great for you!

You need: 1 medium Irish potato, sliced and placed in a big jar.

1 tablespoon cornmeal (white is preferred)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water

Cover and let rise in warm place until morning. Place in a box surrounded by a heating pad on warm if your house is too cold. If mixture is foamy and “smelly” the next morning (which is what you want!), pour the liquid into your mixing bowl and throw away the potatoes.

Mix 2 cups very warm water with 1/2 cup shortening (we like olive for a savory or walnut for a "sweet"). Then add 1 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons sugar, and 5 cups of flour. Combine with the stinky rising mixture to make a stiff batter. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Work in another 6 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Lightly knead. Divide into 3 portions. Let them rise for 10 minutes. Knead for 3 minutes. Place in greased pans. Let rise until mixture comes to top of the pan. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for another 25 minutes.

This doesn't really translate into a bread machine.

Copyright (c) 2009 VP Lawrence-Williams


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