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Author Topic: Salt Rising Bread  (Read 2619 times)

Offline Ford

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Salt Rising Bread
« on: May 13, 2010, 12:27:52 PM »

SALT-RISING BREAD, TRADITIONAL
(This is NOT a sourdough bread, but does use a naturally occurring bacterium to make the leavening.  The name comes from the old way of keeping the dough warm.  The bowl containing the starter, sponge, and dough were kept warm in a bed of warm rock salt.  I think of this bread as a product of Appalachian Mountains, but I am not sure of the actual origin.)
[1/2" slice: 62 g, 148 cal, 4.3g prot, 2.3g fat, 27.2 g carb.]

STARTER (S. R. BREAD)
Use either Starter Option #1
1/2 cup (2.3 oz.) cornmeal
1/4 cup (1 oz.) unbleached flour
1 Tbs. (0.5 oz.) sugar
1/4 tspn. baking soda
1 Tbs. dried starter reserved from past sponges, if available.
1 quart (32 oz.) chlorine free water at 120°F

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl that will hold 2 quarts.  Pour on the heated water, 120°F.  Mix, cover the bowl with plastic wrapper, and set in a warm (about 95 to 105°F) spot where the temperature remains fairly constant.  Let it sit undisturbed for about 10 to 20 hours.  The starter should then be foaming and have a cheese-like aroma.  If you do not have the cheese-like aroma, your starter is not active and your bread will not rise.  Quit now.  If the aroma is present, continue with the sponge.

Or use Starter Option #2
2 medium, raw, peeled, thinly sliced potatoes (~8 oz,)
1 quart (32 oz.) boiling water
1/4 tspn. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1/3 cup cornmeal (1.5 oz.)
1 Tbs. (0.5 oz.) sugar
2 Tbs. (0.5 oz.) unbleached flour
1 Tbs. dried starter reserved from past sponges, if available.

Put the thinly sliced potatoes in a large bowl (about 2 1/2 quarts), and then pour in boiling water.  Sprinkle on the sugar, soda, cornmeal, and flour.  Do not stir.  Cover the bowl.  At this point, the temperature of the mixture will be about 150°F.  Place the bowl in a warm (about 95 to 105°F) spot where the temperature remains fairly constant.  After an hour add the dried starter reserved from past sponges, if it is available.  Let the starter sit undisturbed for about 10 to 20 hours.  The starter should then be foaming, with some corn meal and perhaps even a few slices of potato floating.  It should have a strong cheese-like aroma.  If you do not have the cheese-like aroma, your starter is not active and your bread will not rise.  Quit now.  If the aroma is present, remove the potato slices, discard them, and continue with the sponge.

SPONGE (S. R. BREAD)
One of the optional starters from above
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) scalded, tepid milk
1/2 tspn. baking soda
3 1/2 (14.9 oz.) cups unbleached, bread flour
1/2 tspn. (0.1 oz.) sugar

Scald milk (190°F) then cool to 110°F.  Pour the starter into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in baking soda, milk, sugar, and unbleached flour, some lumps may remain.  Cover with a plastic wrap and again set in a warm (95 to 105°F) place, and let the sponge rise.  This may take as long as 4 hours, or as short as 1 1/2 hours.  When ready, the sponge will have doubled in volume, will appear creamy, foamy, and still have the strong cheese odor.  Remove about a 1/4 cup of starter and spread it out on a plate to dry and to replace the dried starter used above.

DOUGH (S. R. BREAD)
all of the above sponge
9 1/2 cups (40 oz.) unbleached bread flour
1tspn. (0.2 oz.) sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. (1.0 oz.) salt
1/4 cup (2.0 oz.) melted and cooled butter
melted butter for greasing the pans and for brushing the dough

Put 4 cups of flour, 1 tspn. sugar, and 1 1/2 Tbs. salt into bowl containing the sponge, and blend.  Stir in the melted butter.  Then add enough flour (4 - 5 cups, or more) to make a soft, manageable dough that you can knead.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or two, adding flour as necessary.  Let it rest for ten minutes.  Resume the kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary.  Divide into three loaves (about 2 lb. 1 oz. each), and shape each piece to fit the loaf pans.  Place each into a greased loaf pan, brush with melted butter, and cover with plastic wrap.  Set loaf pans in a warm place (100 to 110°F) to rise.  This final rise takes about 2 hours, and the loaves should double the original volume.  Let the loaves rise until just above the top of the pan, and do not slash the loaves.

BAKING (S. R. BREAD)
Preheat oven to 450°F (with a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf) and the middle shelf reserved for the bread pans.  When the dough has risen, spray the dough with water, and place immediately into the oven.  After 15 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.  Bake until the interior temperature of the loaves is 195° to 200°F.  There will be little or no oven spring.  They should sound hollow when thumped with a finger on the bottom, about 40 minutes.  It is better to overbake than to risk underbaking.  Turn out on to a cooling rack, brush with butter, and cover with a damp cloth until cooled.  Bread may then be packaged and frozen.

NOTES (S. R. BREAD)
This is NOT a sourdough bread.  On the contrary, the organism responsible for the leavening prefers a near neutral pH, slightly on the basic (alkaline) side.  The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is added is to obtain that pH, not to leaven the dough.  Were the baking soda not added, the acid produced by the bacteria would greatly slow the growth of the bacteria, if not kill them.  Another difference is that this organism prefers a much higher temperature, 95 to 105°F (35 to 41°C).  This temperature would kill the sourdough yeast and lactobacteria.  The bacterium responsible for leavening salt rising bread (SRB) is anaerobic, i.e., it thrives in the absence of air, whereas the yeast and lactobacteria of sourdough can metabolize their nutrients either aerobically or anaerobically.
Clostridium perfringens is reported to be the bacterium responsible for the leavening of salt rising bread.(1, 2)  Apparently, the spores of this bacterium are wide spread and present in all grains and other plant material.  Nielsen (2) has reported making salt rising leavening from many different starting materials viz., various grains, cheese, and even the bark of white oak, and the bark of black locust.  Apparently, it is the high temperature of the milk or water that activates these spores and then the continued temperature of about 105°F that promotes the metabolism of the bacteria.  The gas produced is said to be mostly hydrogen.(2)  Juckett, Bardwell, McClane, and Brown (3) state, “SRB starter samples were cultured at the University of Pittsburgh and abundant C. perfringens, type A grew out of all samples. However, none of the cultures were positive for enterotoxin and thus would be unlikely to cause human food borne disease. While this does not preclude the possibility of other starter mixes containing enteropathogenic strains, the baking process appears to reduce bacterial contamination to safe levels and SRB has not been implicated in causing any human disease.”
A proofing oven is ideal for the various rising steps.  One can be made of a large cardboard box with a light bulb for heat.  (Do not let the bulb touch the box.)  Our oven with the oven light on gives a temperature of about 105°F, perfect.  A gas oven with only the pilot light on may work.  Be sure to measure the temperature of the proofing oven (or area) — too high a temperature kills the organisms and too low (below 95°F) will not permit fast enough growth.  A temperature of 95 to 105°F seems to be about ideal for proofing.  This organism likes a higher temperature than does yeast.
As the dough matures it looses its elasticity.  The risen dough in the baking pan will jiggle like a bowl of jelly as it is placed in the oven.  This is probably due to the bacteria having metabolized the gluten and thus destroying the network that retains the gases and gives structure to other breads.  The metabolites of this nitrogenous compound may well be the source of the cheese-like aroma.
Do not use any product that has a live culture in it such as sweet acidophilus milk, yogurt, or buttermilk.  Or, at least scald (190°F) such a product to kill any active organisms.  The organisms may be antagonistic to the leavening organism.  Do not add any acid product at any stage.
Be careful of preservatives that may be in the various ingredients.  They may kill the leavening organism.  Salt is a preservative; too much will slow or stop the leavening process.  Since the bacterium is anaerobic, avoid beating air into the starter, the sponge, and the dough.
If at any time in the process the product does not appear to be working, i.e., generating the gases needed for proper rising and having a cheese-like aroma, discard it, and start over.  The starter and the sponge must generate foam, and the dough must at least double in bulk.  The most likely cause for failure is either too high or too low a temperature during proofing.  Saving out some of the sponge and drying it at room temperature for later use, is a means of providing some assurance of success of the fermentation.
Do not overproof the loaf – let it rise until it is just above the top of the loaf pan.  Do not slash the top of the loaf.
Jenny Bardwell & Susan Brown, eHow Presenters, made a video on methods for making sourdough bread. (5)


References
(1) H. A. Kohman,1953 Baking Industry: http://home.comcast.net/~petsonk/SRB03.10a_files/Page416.htm
(2) Reinald S. Nielsen, http://www.nyx.net/~dgreenw/whatissaltrisingbread.html
(3) http://home.comcast.net/~petsonk/SRB03.10a_files/Page416.htm
(4) West Virginia University School of Medicine, W V Med J. 2008 Jul-Aug;104(4):26-7
(5) http://www.ehow.com/video_2340947_salt-rising-bread-recipe.html
Resident Conservative Curmudgeon -- Ford

Offline Zeb

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Re: Salt Rising Bread
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 10:57:34 AM »
That's pretty detailed, thanks Ford!  How does one know if it is 'right' ?  What does the bread look like when it is made?  Does it still smell cheesey or does the smell (presumably a byproduct of fermentation)  disappear after baking?   It sounds as if the main stumbling block is maintaining the correct temperature for long periods of time - not sure I can manage that easily at home - I'll have to think about how to do it before attempting it.   Joanna
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Offline Paul

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Re: Salt Rising Bread
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2010, 03:17:35 PM »
There's also a thread on this bread over on TheFreshLoaf that went into details on what to expect:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17044/salt-ring-bread-how-does-it-work
Paul
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Offline Ford

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Re: Salt Rising Bread
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 08:48:45 AM »
The bread has the cheese aroma through the baking cycle, in storage, and when toasted it gets stronger.  The bread makes great toast.  It is almost addictive to those who have developed the taste for the bread.

Ford
Resident Conservative Curmudgeon -- Ford