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Salt-Rising Bread, or Pioneer Bread


This old-fashioned method of making bread with a cornmeal starter is worth the effort! It's a good thing this recipe makes 3 loaves - everyone will want "one more slice"!

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Rate this recipe 4/5 (85 Votes)


  • 8 tablespoons cornmeal
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Scalding hot water
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons shortening, butter or lard
  • Additional flour, if needed
  • Butter for tops of loaves


Servings 36
Cooking time 600mins


Step 1

The night before you wish to do your baking:

Put cornmeal in a pint jar. Add a pinches of salt and soda. Add sugar.

Add enough hot water to fill the jar. Stir well. Cover with a lid and let stand overnight in a warm place.

The next morning, combine of milk, cornmeal mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt and flour. Stir well to make a stiff batter.

Cover and place the entire bowl in a container of warm water and set in a warm place. You will likely have to drain some of the water off and replace with warmer water on a continuing basis. Try to hold the temperature as constant as possible. It will take 3 to 4 hours to rise. If it is very slow in rising, you can stir it again, then place the bowl back in the warm water.

When the dough rises, combine 1 teaspoon salt, shortening and flour enough to make a stiff dough. Knead 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Shape dough into 3 loaves. Grease the sides of the loaf pans well with butter, then place the loaves in pans and let rise until they are doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes. When the bread has finished baking, grease the crust heavily with butter as soon as you remove from the oven.

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