ashes were another leavening agent used.

ashes were soaked in water and the alkaline (base) substance in the ashes dissolved into the water. when the water evaporated, a powder remained. this powder, when mixed with an acid ingredient, gave off gases and leavened the product. potash was used in the same way. in fact, some special recipes still use potash. ash, potash, pearlash the potash in this recipe shows how the native americans used a leavener in their foods. the early settlers used ash (potash) in a similar way by refining it further. they called the resulting residue pearlash. indian flat bread 3 cups blue corn 2 cups water ash (a few tablespoons, as needed) finely grind dried blue corn, preferably on a very level grinding stone. mix 1 cup of water with the cornmeal. place a few tablespoons of ash in a second cup of water and stir. strain the ash water through a batch of tightly woven grasses to catch the ash. mix the strained water with the cornmeal and blend. in a separate area, light a fire and allow it to burn down to hot coals. elevate your rock about 6-8 inches above the fire and heat to about 700 degrees. you�ll know the rock is hot enough when watermelon seeds brown on the stone. dip four unburned fingers (assuming this is your first attempt) into the mix and quickly swipe the blend over the hot stone, first up and down, then back and forth. let it grill for a few seconds, then remove and roll it as you would tamale. roll up the thin bead and serve in a basket. from the old west baking book by lon walters

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