Monday, January 7, 2013

Sally Lunn Bread

I first made Sally Lunn bread when we lived in Hong Kong in the early 80's.  I think that it was for a Thanksgiving dinner with lots of international friends at our house, or something like that.  I made it thinking that it was an old American recipe.  I thought that because I found the recipe in my 1953 Betty Crocker Cookbook.  But later I came to realize that it was a British recipe, though they don't have total claim to the recipe, as Sally Lunn was actually a French Huguenot, which would explain the bun's similarity to brioche.

In 1999 we took three of our daughters to England and while in Bath we discovered the Sally Lunn Bakery.  The day before we had visited the Jane Austen Museum, which was newly opened.  We had a delightful time there and chatted with a lot with the people running the museum.  It was possibly at their suggestion that we went to the Sally Lunn.  I'm not sure.  But anyway, when we went for tea and buns at the Sally Lunn our daughter Annie wore here Regency Dress which I had made for her.  She actually wore the dress the whole time we were in and around Bath.  So we were in the lovely second floor tea room of the Sally Lunn, sitting by the window and eating our lovely Sally Lunn buns and feeling very much like we were in a Jane Austen novel, when a young woman dressed in a beautiful Regency outfit came into the room, looked straight at us, walked towards us and said hello to us in a manner indicating she knew who we were.  Talk about feeling like being transported back in time.  We were thrilled.  It turned out to be one of the young ladies from the Jane Austen Museum.  She was there to pass out brochures to interest people in the museum.

In 2006, while on a garden tour with  my mother, I took her to the Sally Lunn Bakery.  She did not get it.  It was a very rainy day and it seemed a good thing to me to be sitting in a lovely tea room.  But anyway, this is a picture of my Sally Lunn bun when I had half eaten it.  I think my mother ordered tomato soup.  What looks like butter in the little cup is actually cream.  I ordered strawberry jam.  You can also get it with applesauce on top, which is also very good.

Sally Lunn Bread

14 oz flour, either all-purpose or bread
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/4 cup water, or as needed

Combine the dry ingredients in a kitchenaid bowl.
Heat the milk, then add to butter to it to melt it.  This also cools it down a bit.
Put the milk, butter, egg, and water into the bowl and whip vigorously with the paddle blade.
It will not be a typical bread dough.  You wouldn't want to turn it out on to a board and knead it because it will be too sticky.  If it isn't sticky looking add a bit more water. 
Scrape the dough into a nice lump of dough and cover the bowl with a tea towel and let double in size.
This should take about an hour.

Butter generously a small tube pan, or whatever you have.  I found my 8 inch tube pans at Goodwill.  A not too big bundt pan should do.  You want the hole in the middle bit.  But then, the Sally Lunn buns are baked in a 2 inch high cake pan.

When the dough has risen, punch it down a bit, let rest a few minutes, and the get the dough into your pan of choice.  Let rise until double, then bake at 400 (?) degrees for about 30 minutes.

Let cool just a bit, then turn out and place on a plate, as the bread looks like a cake.

Left-over Sally Lunn bread is great toasted and topped with jam or applesauce.  This picture is not of my bread, and it's probably twice the size of the one I make, but it gives you a good idea of what you're making.  I'll get a picture of mine in here as soon as I get one.  Mine has a finer crumb and the top is smooth and rounded.

If you double the recipe it will go into a 10 inch tube pan and will cook for a longer time.

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