Irish Soda Bread Starter

Ann from Alaska

More than a couple of years ago, KAF sold something that I think was called an Irish Soda Bread Starter. It was rather complicated, requiring you to incubate the starter at least around 85 degrees or so. It added a rather interesting cheesy taste to Irish Soda Bread. I finally had my brother built me this great incubator for low temperatures (that is, temps I cannot achieve in my oven), and now that I go back to look for this starter, KAF no longer carries it. I have emailed them -- no response.

Does anyone remember or recall what I'm talking about? I swear it's not my imagination as I bought this product from KAF.

badge posted by: Ann from Alaska on January 30, 2012 at 12:43 am in Q & A
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reply by: Mike Nolan on January 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm
Mike Nolan

I'm surprised you didn't get a response, the sales department is usually very prompt, even when asked really esoteric questions. You could try the hotline or online help.

I don't recall seeing the starter in the KAF catalog, but I only go back to about 2007.

Here's a link to a variant on Jeffrey Hamelman's soda bread recipe from his book. It looks very similar to the soda bread we had in Ireland:

There are also soda bread recipes out there that start with a cup of sourdough starter:

reply by: KAF_Frank on January 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hi Ann,
Sorry for the delayed reply. We may be running a little behind on turning around the emails. I think you are describing the Salt Rising Yeast that we used to carry. Unfortunately the manufacturer of this unique ingredient went out of business about 5 years ago. Alas, we have not been able to find a new supplier, sorry.

I have never heard of incorporating this into traditional Irish Soda Bread, sounds interesting. Your only option is a scratch recipe. Try a general web search. I hear that a lot of folks find that using a yogurt maker for the incubation period is quite successful. Good luck with your search. Frank @ KAF.

reply by: Ann from Alaska on February 02, 2012 at 6:43 am
Ann from Alaska

No, you are correct. Salt-rising yeast was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Don't know how the Irish Soda Bread got caught in that.

*shakes the head* It is my bad luck that this happens. Thanks for returning my email. I was wondering why you guys had not responded. Glad you were only running behind.

reply by: Mike Nolan on February 02, 2012 at 11:44 am
Mike Nolan

There are recipes out there for making your own salt-rising starter. There's one in Beard on Bread for example. However, he cautions that it doesn't always work.

I have had very mixed emotions over salt-rising starter since I learned that the rising agent is Clostridium perfringens.

reply by: Ann from Alaska on July 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm
Ann from Alaska

Finally!! I've decided to try making my own salt-rising bread starter. I found a few recipes, but more importantly, I'm getting that proofer KAF is selling. Great way to control the heat because making this starter does require a higher heat -- even as high as 120℉!

As for the Clostridiuim perfringens, yes, it is one of too many bacteria found in this SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), however, no one has died from this starter. (CDC) And the Lactobacilli species and various yeast species actually keep the C. perfringens under control. Hey!! Practically all bleu cheese has Listeria! But we haven't died from blue cheese salad dressing. When C perfringens is surrounded by a ton of beneficial bacteria and fungi, you aren't going to get sick... That is, as long as you don't have any diseases that cripple your immune system (AIDS usually.)

Will keep you informed of the experiments. Gotta remember that this stuff is going to be STINKY!! Definitely use organic cornmeal...