Worth Their Salt

The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Bakery owner Genevieve Bardwell offers a unique type of bread that celebrates a long held tradition in Appalachia, it’s called “Salt Rising Bread.” As the story goes, when pioneer women first came to America, they did not have access to commercial yeast and were forced to invent a new form of baking bread.

Mount Morris, Pa.

Rising Creek Bakery in Mount Morris, Pa., has kept Appalachian tradition alive since it opened its doors seven years ago.

Customers come for the baked goods, savory treats and most notably, the salt-rising bread that is unique to Appalachian and American history.

Bakery owner Genevieve Bardwell has studied the art of salt-rising bread with long-time friend and colleague Susan Brown for the last two decades. The women were faced with a hard, cold fact: The art of salt-rising bread was dying, and no one was saving it.

The women decided to get cracking on research. They wanted to know the science behind the fermentation, the history of the bread and most importantly, the stories of those who grew up eating the dense, savory bread.

“My connection to salt-rising bread is from my childhood,” Brown said. “My grandmother made it in Greenbrier County, and I knew it was something special, so when I was old enough to make it, I wanted to make it and pass it on to my family and my children.”

But just passing the recipe down to children and grandchildren was not enough for Brown and Bardwell to keep the tradition alive.

So they wrote a book, “Salt Rising Bread: Recipes and Heartfelt Stories of a Nearly Lost Appalachian Tradition.” The book, which is available at Rising Creek Bakery, Barnes & Noble at University Town Centre and on Amazon.com, contains recipes for salt-rising bread while telling its story, which is rich in Appalachian heritage.

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