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Salt Rising Bread, Week Two

By Connie Moore

Tags: Salt rising bread, baking old-fashioned bread, baking mistakes, Medway Ohio, Connie Moore,

 Connie Moore



starter in a jar

Sometimes I’m like an old dog with a bone; I thought for sure I could just read the book Salt Rising Bread by Genevieve Bardwell and Susan Brown and make a loaf myself. Again and again I've tried, using different recipes for all three stages.

This was supposed to be the happy ending story to the S.R.B. saga. Alas, it was not to be. The third batch of starter — made according to Salt Rising Bread book’s standard, potato-starter recipe — started up well enough. The sponge made with it bubbled and fermented fine. The bread dough made with the sponge was beautiful. Placed in the pans, put in the light-bulb-warmed oven, it did nothing. Somewhere between the dough kneading and the panning up, the whole mass lost all get up and go.

Then life happened, and all thoughts of S.R.B. were put on the back burner as tomatoes, peppers, and corn were put by for the winter. Then there was corncob jelly and apples. By the time all that was done, a few days rest was in order. But, in the back of my mind, I kept working with that salt rising bread until I was baking it in my dreams. More than once, I thought I smelled moldy cheese in the middle of the night.

Even as I write this, a week later, there is a jar of starter bubbling, hidden away in the depths of the oven. Local residents here at the Moore homestead are tired of seeing and smelling and hearing about it. So I try and take care to hide all evidence that the S.R.B. experiments are ongoing. Someday, I know it will all work out. When it does, Mr. and Mrs. Brown of Enon will receive a loaf of pungent, tasty, salt rising bread from this writer/baker/old dog. To quote a newspaper article of 1917: “Salt Rising Bread is a more detailed and a more particular piece of work than ‘hop yeast’ bread.”

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