[Sca-cooks] Salt Rising Bread
t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sat Aug 11 11:43:16 PDT 2007
Salt rising bread is a sourdough bread made from a spontaneously leavened
batter created about 8 to 24 hours before making bread, rather than from a
continuously maintained starter. Unlike a continuous starter which should
only contain water and flour, these batters often have milk and sugar added
to them to feed the the leven.
The earliest recipe I have in my collection is from 1879 (Tyree, ed.,
Housekeeping in Old Virginia):
Make into a thin batter:
1 pint of flour.
1 tablespoonful of corn meal.
Half-teaspoonful of salt.
Set in a warm place to rise. After it has risen, pour into it two quarts of
flour, with sufficient warm water to mke up a loaf of bread. Work it well,
set it to rise again, and when risen sufficiently, bake it.---Mrs. T. L. J.
I question the accuracy of the claim that the leavening is by C.
perfringens. In my opinion, the leavening bacteria are more likely to be
members of Lactobacillus as in the case of normal sourdough. As with
sourdoughs, any of the organisms in the batter are likely to vary with
location. I would like to see a microbiological analysis of the batter
before accepting any statements about how the bread is leavened.
These batters are probably not Medieval in origin. To my knowledge,
Medieval starters were kept as balls of dough, batters being more easily
infected by mold than the more solid continuous starters. From experience
(and having read a number of different recipes for salt rising bread), I
think that the batter leavens are a response to mold infections in starters
that weren't used daily, but I have no direct evidence to support my
"Salt rising" is something of a misnomer. The function of the salt is not
to leaven the bread, but to slow and even out the rise.
> On one of my left turns associated with my paper on bread, I came across
> reference to salt rising bread, leavened with the bacterium Clostridium
> perfringens. All I have been able to find so far is that this seems to be
> american bread. I am not particularly pushing it to be period, but could
> have happened in period? Like most of the recipes I have found, it seems
> have "appeared".
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