a continuing (culinary) conundrum
November 26, 2004 1:26 AM   Subscribe

"Salt rising bread is, when at it's best, as if a delicately reared, unsweetened plain cake had had an affair with a Pont l'Eveque cheese." There's even a mystery to go along with your (cheese-flavored) bread.
posted by scrim (10 comments total)
replace that le fromage de la Belle France and shack it up with some cheddar and you've got red state manna.
posted by three blind mice at 1:43 AM on November 26, 2004

Great link/crappy site layout seems to be a theme today.

Yet, before my minor grousing bring the mood down -- I hasten to add that I'm really enthused at the prospect of trying this. Makes me wanna dig out some old bread recipes I have that have inexplicably fallen out of favor in the Wonder Bread era. Anyone try this yet?
posted by RavinDave at 3:29 AM on November 26, 2004

AFAIK it's merely a chance to trap your own yeast spores from the air. Think of it as "volunteer" sourdough starter. YMMV, depending on what's floating around. I've used this method (with "potato water" for the yeast-feeding starch) to get a sourdough starter going.

Good homemade bread is more than the starter, but almost anything beats Wonderbread (which is superior at cleaning leather).
posted by reflecked at 3:46 AM on November 26, 2004

Despite Susan Ray Brown's insistence on this being "yeast free", I also believe that this is good ol' sourdough bread.

Yes, salt does inhibit yeast growth, but not if you're adding a teaspoon or two to 12 cups of flour.
posted by O9scar at 6:14 AM on November 26, 2004

The process is quite short compared to sourdough, which takes at least a few days to get a good starter going. Perhaps the natural yeasts are kept out by the addition of salt or baking soda early in the short (overnight) fermentation, so that they don't even have a chance to settle in and make themselves at home?

Many people (myself included) think a good bacterial fermentation (in addition to the yeast) gives bread a richer flavour; the common method to promote this is to refrigerate a sponge overnight to slow down the yeast and allow the bacteria to catch up. I'm sure to be experimenting with this "no-yeast" method.
posted by transient at 7:29 AM on November 26, 2004

I guess it is a variant of sourdough, but more using bacteria in milk to make it rise. Good salt rising bread stinks; you don't want to breathe in while chomping down on it.

I've had salt rising and sourdough made properly near Lee's Summit, MO. They're distinctively different. I'm told that SRB only used to be made in winter, since the culture went rancid too fast in summer.
posted by scruss at 7:37 AM on November 26, 2004

There is a recipe for salt-rising bread in my 1975 Joy of Cooking and they come down on the side of bacterial fermentation. I am intrigued by the whole thing and have a batch of potato/cornmeal starter going now.
posted by TedW at 8:09 AM on November 26, 2004

When I was a teenager I had a sourdough starter that I kept alive for 5 years, making bread once or twice a week.

We tried to keep him alive when we moved from Vermont to Virginia, but alas, he lost his gas. (Sourdough, aka Herman, is usually referred to in the male gender, for what reason I don't know)

During my 10 years in Virginia I experienced SRB and wasn't as pleased with it, but it does have its merits.
posted by kamylyon at 8:11 AM on November 26, 2004

Good salt rising bread stinks

Yes it does. Heavenly stinkage. My grandma used to have SRB for breakfast when we visited, but the only thing we ever really used it for was toast.
posted by LionIndex at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2004

(Sourdough, aka Herman, is usually referred to in the male gender, for what reason I don't know)

Probably because it's full of gas...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2004

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