Lightnin’ Bread is also known as Salt Rising Bread. Back in the day, when you couldn’t count your bottom dollar on how Yeast was gonna turn out, people made Lightnin’ Bread. You will create your own fermentation which makes this bread rise. It takes some time to make, which maybe why people don’t fool with it much today. In my opinion, this bread should make a comeback for Homesteaders or for those just tryin’ to get back to the basics.
- 2 cups Milk
- 2 cups of White Corn Meal
- 1 TBSP Sugar
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 8-10 cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
- 2 TBSP Shortening
Scald Milk in a saucepan on the stove. Remove from heat and add to Corn Meal, Sugar, and Salt—stirring until smooth. Cover with a teat towl and set in a warm place overnight. The following morning, add 1 cup warm water mixed with Baking Soda and about 2 1/2 cups Flour. (This should make a stiff batter. If not, add flour till it does.) Set bowl of batter in a pan of warm water. Cover. And let standing until it foams up. (2 hours to half a day). Try to keep water at an even tempoerature all the time. Not too hot. Not too cold. If it seems like the batter is not rising, give it a stir to help things along.
If you notice an odor, then all things are working. The odor is another reason people now days may be afraid of this bread but don’t be. This odor is caused by acetous, which is souring or, you may know it as, fermentation. You may also think, souring means, a tart or foul bread but its not. The more souring that happens, the sweeter the bread will be when baked.
When the batter has risen, knead in Shortening and more flour. (Could take up to 8 cups) to make a stiff bread dough. Shape into 2 loaves, set in greased loaf pans, and let rise again until doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until light brown.
The American Heritage Cookbook