This bread is made old-fashioned way

Recipe Finder

November 14, 2001|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Anne Kellogg of Walla Walla, Wash., wrote that she had been seeking a recipe for salt-rising bread for "decades. I had it at my grandmother's house in Washington, D.C., decades ago. She bought it at a local bakery.

"I hope your readers can give me an answer."

From Sara Frances Shay of Linthicum Heights came tester Laura Reiley's choice.

Shay wrote: "I have never made salt-rising bread but for many years ate it from a bakery in Bluefield, W.Va. This recipe is from a cookbook published in 1941."

Salt-Rising Bread

Makes 2 loaves

SPONGE:

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

SECOND SPONGE:

1 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter or other shortening

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

DOUGH:

3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, approximately

melted butter for topping

Scald milk, cool to lukewarm, add cornmeal, salt and sugar. Pour into covered fruit jar or pitcher and place in a pan of hot water (120 degrees). Let stand 6 or 7 hours or until signs of fermentation (gas bubbles) appear. If water cannot be kept at 120 degrees, be sure to place jar in the warmest spot in the room.

Add ingredients for second sponge, beat thoroughly and again cover and place in a pan of hot water (120 degrees). Let rise until very light; then add remaining flour gradually until dough is stiff enough to be kneaded.

Knead 10 to 15 minutes, shape into 2 loaves and place in greased bread pans. Brush top with a little melted butter, cover and let rise until very light and more than doubled in size.

Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees) for 10 minutes, then lower to moderate (350 degrees) and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on wire racks, turn out of bread pans and cool completely before slicing.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is the kind of bread that was popular before commercial yeast was widely available. The finished bread has a slightly fruity `wild yeast' flavor imparted by the fermented cornmeal. Be advised: If you don't get gas bubbles in the sponge, this bread will not work --start over with new ingredients. Despite the fact that this is a lot of work, it's fun to do things the old-fashioned way, and the resulting bread is tender and soft inside, with a nice crisp crust."

Recipe requests

Becki Bair of Dover, Ohio, says she is "desperately searching for a recipe for Cranberry Candy. The cranberry sauce along with other ingredients was heated on top of the stove and poured into a square pan. No one has been able to find this recipe, which I lost. Please help me solve the mystery."

Gardner Wolfe of Reisterstown wants to make some sprouted seven-grain bread. "I've enjoyed this bread, produced by Shiloh Farms and found in the frozen-food section of some health-food stores, but I am a bread maker and am interested in making the bread myself. Any help from your readers would be much appreciated."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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