Salt rising bread was my mothers favorite bread. I could understand why she liked the breads made from a sour dough recipe, the multigrain bread recipes or even a corn bread recipe.
Although this bread was from a sour dough recipe, it was nothing like regular sour dough bread. The odor of salt rising bread really turned me off when I was young. The smell was so rotten. It had almost that same rotten smell of Dad’s Limburger cheese. I couldn’t taste either one of these things! When I got older I finally tasted Mom’s bread and I could understand why Mom liked the flavor so well. It had a dense crumb like texture and a cheesy flavor. Once I got past that odor it wasn’t quite so bad.
Salt rising bread was very popular at the bakeries in Ohio when I was growing up. The difference between this bread and a sour dough bread recipe is the incubation temperatures. Salt rising bread must set at higher temperatures; above 98F degrees. The sour dough sets at room temperature or below; below 70F degrees. This bread does not rise by putting salt in it as many think. Actually many people choose not to add salt to their recipe.
NOTE: Keeping this salt rising dough at a higher temperature can be done by one of several methods.
SALT RISING BREAD
Scald milk; put milk in a warm glass bowl and add corn meal; beat thoroughly. Let stand in a warm place overnight. In the morning the mixture should be light, spongy and bubbly. If the mixture has not been kept warm enough and has not fermented enough, place container in hot water and let stand until the mixture is full with bubbles.
To the 2 cups of warm water add the soda and about 3 cups of the flour or enough to make a thick batter. Add the cornmeal sponge and beat well. Place bowl in a pan of water (almost hot) and keep in a warm place for about 1 hour or until light and bubbly; stir down.
To the boiling water add the shortening, salt and sugar; let stand until lukewarm. Add to the sponge and mix thoroughly. Add enough of the remaining flour to make stiff dough.
Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead about 10 minutes or until smooth. Divide into 3 equal parts; form into balls and let stand about 10 minutes.
Shape dough into loaves and place into well greased loaf pans. Brush tops of dough lightly with melted shortening. Cover and let stand in a warm place about 1 ½ to 2 hours or until they double in bulk.
Bake about 40 to 50 minutes in oven at 400F degrees. Brush tops with melted butter. Makes three 1 ½ pound loaves.