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When finished, Salt Rising Bread is a delicious dense bread, with a flat top and a marvelous flavor, unmatched by any other bread! Many people prefer eating the bread toasted, though it is also quite delicious when warm, just out of the oven. In the past, it was often served with homemade apple butter or preserves. Two modern day ways of serving Salt Rising Bread are as grilled cheese sandwiches and as stuffing for turkey or chicken.

When our grandmothers and great grandmas were making Salt Rising Bread, it was simple to set the starter in a warm place overnight. Many had wood cookstoves which held heat the whole night through. Often, women would set their jar or crock of rising over the hot water reservoir located in their wood burning cookstove, where the embers of the previous day's fire would hold just the right amount of heat in the water for the rising to foam during the night. Other times, they would set their rising above the stove in the warming cupboards, which were also heated from the fire of the cookstove.

 

Nowadays, most kitchens, of course, do not have wood cookstoves in them, nor do most homes have gas pilot lights on gas ranges or gas hot water heaters (a place where just a few years ago women might have set their rising overnight). Therefore, some modern ways of keeping rising warm overnight include the following: setting the rising, covered, on top of a crock pot filled half full with water and kept at a low temperature; wrapping the starter in an electric heating pad or setting it, wrapped in a towel, on top of a heating pad which is set on medium; or wrapping the starter in a heavy towel and placing it on a warming tray that is set on the medium temperature. Some bakers also have success when they put their starter in their oven with the light kept on overnight.

Putting the rising in a warm place: All of the old recipes say, "Set the rising in a warm place overnight." A warning -- this sounds very easy! It is not so simple! However, this step is, in fact, the key to having success making salt rising bread! You must keep and maintain the temperature of your rising at an even, warm temperature (between 90 - 110 degrees F) for 8-16 hours or the rising will not "work."

 

Some commercial bakeries also use standard yeasts to accelerate the leavening process. This results in a very different, inauthentic Salt Rising Bread loaf, which is lighter and resembles traditional yeast bread.