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Volume II
April 30, 2005

Salt Rising Bread Solutions

I have tried in vain for the past forty years to make salt rising bread, ever since Van de Kamp's bakery went out of business here in California.  Every recipe calls for similar ingredients, but the one critical thing they all say is you must let the sponge rise overnight in a warm 90-100 degree place.  I think that is the problem:  where does one find that warm an overnight temperature?  The oven would be too hot, "room temperature" is too cold.  Without that warmer than normal room temperature, the sponge doesn't rise and the whole thing is a total flop!

If you know how to keep the batter/sponge warm at that temperature overnight, please do let me know.  I really do miss salt rising bread toast with my breakfast!

Thank you,

Karen Christian

El Cerrito, California

Hi Karen,

Here are a few ideas that I use to keep yogurt warm.  Maybe one of these ideas will work for your dough, though with some you'd have to proof your yeast during the day when you can monitor the temperature.  I included all the ideas (even though for yogurt) just in case one may spark something you could feasibly do with your yeast batter.

Hope this helps,

Desi @ DVO

Covered Casserole Method: Warm a casserole dish either in the oven, microwave, or by running hot water over it. Pour the yogurt mixture into the warm dish and cover. Wrap the dish in a large towel or thermal blanket and set in a warm spot of the kitchen, on a warm heater, on a heating pad, or on a warming shelf of a cookstove. You can also wrap it in an electric blanket. Don’t disturb for at least 6 hours or overnight. Check the consistency of the yogurt by unwrapping the towel and tilting the casserole gently. Do not jar or shake it. If it is solid enough for you, refrigerate immediately. If not, rewrap with the towel and let sit again. May take up to 24 hours. Serve when thoroughly chilled. Make sure the spot where you warm it doesn’t rise the temperature of the milk mixture above 115° F.

Electric Frying Pan Method: Pour mixture into pint jars. Set into a deep pan filled with warm water (100-120° F.). Set the pan into an electric frying pan, and set the control at 100° F.

Oven Method: Pour yogurt into a container, jars, or a large oven-proof bowl, for incubation. Cover. Set on a tray in the oven. Turn oven to lowest setting to maintain temperature of the yogurt mixture between 105-115 degrees. Continue checking the temperature often, turning the oven off when the temperature of the yogurt rises above 113 degrees F. (Do not exceed 115 degrees F. as the culture will inactivate.) Maintain temperature for 3-4 hours or longer as necessary. When yogurt is firm and coagulated, refrigerate at once. Do not shake.

Thermos-Method: Pour mixture into a wide-mouth thermos. Put on the lid and let sit 4-6 hours before refrigerating.

Water Method: Pour yogurt into containers and cover tightly. Place covered containers in a large pot. Add water, heated to 110-degrees F., to cover containers. Place pan over a gas stove pilot light, near a wood-burning stove, cover with folded blankets or towels, on a heating tray or pad set on low, or on an electric burner. If using the electric burner, monitor the temperature of the water periodically to maintain a 110-degree temperature. Heat water as needed, being careful that the temperature does not reach 115-degrees.

Yogurt-Maker Method: Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Crock-Pot Method: Preheat a Crock-Pot on low for about 15 minutes, until it feels very warm to the fingertips. Put covered containers of yogurt mixture into the Crock-Pot, cover the crock-pot, and turn off the heat. At 35- to 45-minutes intervals, heat the Crock-Pot on low for 10 to 15 minutes.


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