They stirred together water, a little water-ground cornmeal (ground between stones with water power), potatoes, and salt. They set this mixture, covered or uncovered, in a warm place (such as in the warm ashes of the day's left over cooking fire) until morning. In the morning, they removed the potatoes and used the liquid as leavening for this once famous bread. Standard leavening agents, such as baking powder and baking soda, were not commercially available in this country until the 1850s.

A common misconception about Salt Rising Bread is that the name is derived from the presence of salt in the recipe. However, salt is not a necessary ingredient for Salt Rising Bread. In fact, salt is not even used at all in some recipes. One theory is that Salt Rising Bread was named for the method once used to keep the starter warm during fermentation.  The starter was set over night in a bed of warm rock salt to maintain the required warmth.

Text Box: A common misconception about Salt Rising Bread is that the name is derived from the presence of salt in the recipe.

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One of the unique characteristics of Salt Rising Bread is that it utilizes naturally occurring bacteria, rather than commercial yeast, as its rising agent. This may have been one of the reasons that this bread was first made. Pioneer women were often unable to purchase yeast for their bread baking, so they had to utilize an alternative means of fermentation.