Popular Science reported on the somewhat disgusting and possibly dangerous method of making bread, known as salt-rising.
The origins of salt-rising bread are unclear but seem to lie in the nineteenth-century American frontier, where it was likely difficult to obtain fresh yeast or keep a bread starter cool and regularly fed. The salt-rising process produces a leavened loaf from grains and water in about eighteen hours. The name is misleading, because salt doesn’t play a major role. (Perhaps “salt-rising” was just a way of saying “yeastless-rising.”) The real key to the process is heat: scalding-hot liquid to start with, then a feverish but perfringens friendly 100 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit for the starter, sponge, and dough.