Two Salt-Risen Breads, Courtesy of Jenny Bardwell

If you are game to try making salt-risen bread at home (with the warning that the aroma of the bacterially-fermenting starter is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach), Jenny Bardwell offers two recipes on her blog, one with potatoes with cornmeal and/or chickpea flour, and the other using milk in lieu of potatoes. Jenny emphasizes the need to maintain a consistent warm temperature throughout the fermentation, unlike the tepid environment for sourdoughs.

Further information can be found at wildfermentedbreads.com

Potato based bread:

STARTER:   Slice 2-3 potatoes (with the peel) into a quart mason jar. Add 1 tablespoon of cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of garbanzo flour (optional), and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, and ¾ teaspoon of baking soda.  Pour boiling water over all to cover. Cover jar with plastic wrap and poke a hole in the plastic.

Keep starter in a warm place overnight, until stinky and foamy.

The temperature is crucial for the success of this bread. You must use a source of heat that is consistent and keep the temperature of the starter around 104-110°F  for up to 12 hours. Here are some suggestions: 1) Set the starter jar in water with a sous vide thermometer set at 104°F; 2) Set the starter jar in a Styrofoam ice chest                 with a 40 watt light on; 3) Some bakers also have success when they put their starter in the oven with a light kept on overnight.

SPONGE:    8-11 hours later, if mixture is stinky and foamy, you are successful!  Remove the potatoes.  Add ½-1 cup of very warm water and enough flour to make a slurry the consistency of pancake batter.  Cover, set in a warm place, and leave until doubled in volume, which can take from 30 minutes – 2 hours.

DOUGH:    Pour the very light sponge into a large bowl.  Add approximately 1 cup of very warm water and 2-3 cups of flour for each loaf of bread you want to make (up to 10 loaves).  Add 1 teaspoon of salt for each loaf. Knead till smooth and then form the dough.

Divide dough into sections that fill half the pan (about a pound and half or more).  Form dough with smooth side up and place in greased bread pans.  Set the loaves in a warm place till they rise to the top of the pans.  Make a diluted egg wash and brush the top of the loaves before they go into the oven.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then turn the pans. Bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding on the bottom.  Remove loaves from pans to cool.

Milk based bread:

SALT RISING BREAD (made with milk + cornmeal or garbanzo) Yield: 2 loaves

STARTER:  In a small bowl or jar, combine 1 tablespoon of cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of garbanzo flour, 1 tablespoon of wheat flour, and ¾ teaspoon of baking soda.  Pour 2/3 cup of heated milk (heat to 175°F, just before boiling) over this mixture and stir.  Cover jar with plastic wrap and poke a hole in the plastic.

Keep starter in a warm place overnight, until stinky and foamy.

The temperature is crucial for the success of this bread. You must use a source of heat that is consistent and keep the temperature of the starter around 104-110°F  for up to 12 hours. Here are some suggestions: 1) Set the starter jar in water with a sous vide thermometer set at 104°F; 2) Set the starter jar in a Styrofoam ice chest                 with a 40 watt light on; 3) Some bakers also have success when they put their starter in the oven with a light kept on overnight.

SPONGE:   10-12 hours later, if mixture is stinky and foamy, you are successful!  Add ½-1 cup of very warm water and enough flour to make a slurry the consistency of pancake batter.  Cover, set in a warm place, and leave until doubled in volume, which can take from 30 minutes – 2 hours.

DOUGH:    Pour the very light sponge into a large bowl.  Add approximately 1 cup of very warm water and 2-3 cups of flour for each loaf of bread you want to make (up to 10 loaves).  Add 1 teaspoon of salt for each loaf. Knead till smooth and then form the dough.

Divide dough into sections that fill half the pan (about a pound and half or more).  Form dough with smooth side up and place in greased bread pans.  Set the loaves in a warm place till they rise to the top of the pans.  Make a diluted egg wash and brush the top of the loaves before they go into the oven.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then turn the pans. Bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding on the bottom.  Remove loaves from pans to cool.