“Salt-Rising” Bread Like Grandmother Once Made

Sainte Genevieve Fair Play, Sainte Genevieve, Missouri May 22, 1920, page 5

Self rising bread, which is commonly called by the misleading name of “salt-rising bread’ has been known in one form or another for generations. It has been a particular favorite when and where it was difficult to get satisfactory yeast. The following recipe is recommended by the home economic kitchen of the United States Department of Agriculture.

  • 1 cup of milk, sweet
  • 2 tablespoons white corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (if used)
  • flour

Scald the milk. Allow it to cool until it is lukewarm, then add the salt, sugar, and corn meal. Place in a fruit can or a heavy crock or pitcher and surround by water at about 120 deg. to 140 deg. F. Water at this temperature is the hottest in which the hand can be held without inconvenience, and can be secured by mixing nearly equal parts of boiling water and tap water (unless the tap water is unusually warm.) If placed in a fireless cooker a fairly even temperature can be maintained for several hours.

Allow the mixture to stand for 6 or 7 hours, or over night, until it shows signs of fermentation. If it has fermented sufficiently, the gas can be heard as it escapes. This leaven contains enough liquid for one loaf. If more loafs are needed, add 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter for each additional loaf. Make a soft sponge by adding a cup of flour for each loaf to be made. Beat thoroughly and put the sponge in a convenient receptacle and surround by water again at the temperature of about 120 deg. to 140 deg. F.

When the sponge is filled with tiny gas bubbles and has more than doubled in volume add more flour gradually until the dough is so stiff than it can be kneaded without sticking to the hands or to the board. Knead 10 or 15 minutes, put at once into pans, allow to rise until about two and one-half times its original bulk, and bake. Self-rising bread is never so light as the bread raised with yeast. A loaf made with one cup of liquid therefore will come not quite up to the top of a pan of standard size.

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