Salt Rise Bread


Where did the name "Salt Rise Bread" come from and how
did this specialty bread get its name as "Salt Rise". Salt impedes the
yeast process and Salt Rise has less salt in the batter than most other
breads. Several versions of how it came about exist. We offer our
version.

'Salt Rise Bread' seems to have come into existence around 1850. Actually, it existed long before that. It was a basic recipe for bread as made from time immortal.

Yeast spores are literally everywhere. One simply needs to only leave a dough mixture out and the yeast in the air would react with the flour and when kneeded, ferment to form gas bubbles which gives rise to the dough forming gas (air) space within the dough batter.

Once a satisfactory mixture of dough raised from the combination of yeasts is achieved, it could be duplicated by 'saving' a bit of the dough and adding the saved portion to a new batter. This is called a 'starter'. The yeasts would then perform their marvelous work in the new batter and again a portion would be saved for the next batch. And so it goes day after day in times gone by.

But an event occurred in American culture. In 1849 called the "Western Movement" and associated with the California gold rush of 1849, thousands of settlers packed and moved west by wagon train, carrying basic essentials with them to the new lands. One of these was the ability to make bread for the trip across the American plains.

Yeast in order to function needs sugar and also mild heat. Not a lot of heat, just about 100 degrees to ferment and form gas bubbles to expand the dough mixture. But traveling by day across barren trails was not productive for bread to rise, then once it had raised, it needed to be baked and one did not stop to make bread on the trail. Bread would be best baked in the morning to prepare for the day's travels.

Problem: Night air is cool to cold and bread would not rise under cool nights.
Solution: On the sides of the wagons, barrels of necessities were fastened to provide as much room as possible within the wagons for household goods. During the day, the sun would heat the barrels and their contents, salt being one of the carried necessities. Salt has a heat keeping property that made the barrel an ideal warming oven to allow the dough mixture to rise. In the morning the bread would be baked for the day's journey.

Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. Out of the necessity of finding a way to provide heat for the bread loaf to rise evolved the salt barrel proofer and hence the name "Salt Rise Bread".

Today, salt risen bread is made in much the same way. In the evening the starter mixture is placed in a warm place to ferment over night. In the morning before the city stirs, the starter is mixed into the dough batter, which is formed into loaves, which are then allowed to rise to go into the oven for that golden brown crust and delectable flavor that comes from the special yeast starter found at Dutch Maid bakery.