Salt-Rising Bread

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Nice article. Had this bread as a child at Grandmas. How about attaching a tried and true recipe. Thanks

Try this recipe:

Recipe: Salt Rising Bread
There are a half-dozen or so recipes for the pioneer bread on the Internet. This one is featured on Susan Brown’s website and comes from Pearl Haines, a Pennsylvania woman who started making the bread when she was about five years old and baked it for nearly 90 years. (Haines passed away this year.) Her starter, or “raisin,” as she called it, uses fewer ingredients than most recipes and has no sugar or salt.


3 teaspoons cornmeal

1 teaspoon flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup scalded milk


Pour milk onto dry ingredients in an ungreased quart glass jar or metal, glass, or pottery bowl that holds about four cups. Stir. Cover with saran wrap — and punch a hole in the wrap to keep it from sinking.

Keep starter warm, at 105-115 Fahrenheit, overnight until foamy. Three suggestions: 1) Wrap the bowl in a heating pad at the lowest setting, then wrap a towel around it. 2) Set the bowl in an electric skillet with about half an inch of water, set at the lowest temperature. 3) Put it in an oven if there’s a light bulb inside that’s about 60 watts and you can keep the bulb turned on, or if the oven has a “proof” setting.

Brown suggests having a thermometer on hand to check the starter’s temperature several times during the rise.

After “raisin” has foamed and has a “cheesy” smell, put it in a medium-size bowl. Add 2 cups of warm water, then enough flour (about 1 ½ cups) to make a thin pancake-like batter. Stir and let rise again until foamy. This usually takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Monitor the temperature during this stage as well.

Next, for each loaf you want to make, add one cup of warm water and 2 to 3 cups of flour (enough to be able to form the dough into a ball). Shape the dough into a loaf and place in a small loaf pan (about 8 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2) greased with butter, Crisco, Pam or oil.

Let rise 2 to 3 hours. (If it doesn’t rise at that point, you’ll likely have to start over, Brown says.)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is a light golden color and sounds hollow when tapped.

The bread has a long shelf life. “It can keep on your counter for a good week to ten days without going bad,” says Brown, “and if you put it in your refrigerator it’ll keep for another couple of weeks.”

If you encounter any problems, Brown invites you to email her at

Interesting! In his book, KILLING JESUS, Bill O’Reilly spends a bit of time on the travelling diet of the Roman soldier, and briefly mentions them using salt instead of yeast to “raise” the bread.

This might be of interest.

Saturday, December 11, 10:30am LIVE EVENT via ZOOM

Culinary Historians of Southern California

The Appalachian Tradition & Culture of Salt-rising Bread

Salt-rising bread is a uniquely American bread that originated in the Appalachian region during the 1700’s. This bread tradition was passed down orally through the centuries and shared across West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Bread Historian Genevieve Bardwell tells us how it got its name from coddling a “starter" in heated salt, to the use of chemical salts (potash and saleratus), which established a unique alkaline fermentation that enabled the bread to rise. She recorded stories of women who made this bread for over ninety years, revealing a heritage rich in folklore as well as baking skills. She discovered that salt-rising bread starter was passed among neighbors while recipes were passed down through generations. Bardwell discusses the local Los Angeles Van de Kamp Bakery’s version and compares similar indigenous breads from other world regions. She demos making salt-rising bread and offers a recipe. Register at Culinary program: The Appalachian Tradition & Culture of Salt Rising Bread Tickets, Sat, Dec 11, 2021 at 10:30 AM | Eventbrite