Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tasty Brioche and Sally Lunn Bread

Several days ago I decided I wanted to try Terry Thornton's bread. Although I was not all that excited about dragging my large bread maker out of storage in the pantry, I was excited about trying Terry's recipe. Well, turns out I couldn't find my bread maker. Bob and I looked and looked. We poked into corners in this house and the attic that I forgot were there. But no bread maker to be found. I'm sure it's somewhere ~ surely I wouldn't have put it in a yard sale ~ would I?

No problem, I still have the dough hook that attaches to my counter-top Kitchen-Aid electric mixer, so I figured all is not lost. I should have tried Terry's recipe first, but instead I decided to get a little more adventuresome and picked a recipe out of my cookbook, A World of Breads, by Dolores Casella Ms. Casella had written in an introduction to Loaf Breads that "not many women make a yeast-raised Sally Lunn any more." So that's the one I decided to try. Just had to follow directions for making bread that came with my Kitchen-Aid and I should be alright. Right?

I placed it in one regular loaf pan and as the dough was rising, I realized it should have gone into two pans. It started coming over the sides and I had to cut some of the excess off before I actually baked it. The Sally Lunn was a little too sweet for me, but it was a good bread.
Here is Ms. Casella's recipe:


This is the yeast version of this famous English bread which has been popular for several hundred years. (The cookbook also has a baking-powder version.) Serve the bread for tea or afternoon coffee, with bowls of fresh fruit, or at breakfast with butter and plenty of homemade jam.

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup scalded and cooled rich milk
1 cake yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour, sifted

Cream the butter, sugar, and salt. Add the cooled milk. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the creamed mixture along with the beaten eggs. Add the flour a little at a time, beating thoroughly between additions. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then punch down and pour into a well-greased loaf pan or small tube pan. Cover and let rise again. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and tests done.

NOTE: To bake as buns pour the batter into well-greased muffin pans, cover and let rise. Brush with beaten egg and bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until done.
In the Rolls section of this cookbook, Ms. Casella includes a recipe for Brioche with several variations. Two days after my Sally Lunn adventure, I decided to try Brioche. I must say, the results were great. I shared rolls with my neighbor and my granddaughter and both raved about them. I had enough dough to make 2 pans of rolls and 1 loaf of this very versatile bread.

Here is Ms. Casella's recipe:


Brioche is typically French. Some authorities believe that it was named for the town of Brie, where it supposedly originated, and that originally it was always made with Brie cheese. It is a rich basic dough with many uses. This recipe, my favorite, is based on the one given in Catherine Owen's Culture and Cooking, or Art in the Kitchen (1881 edition), which she said was from the Paris Jockey Club.

1 or 2 cakes or packages yeast
1/4 cup warm milk or water
3 tablespoons sugar
7 eggs, or 6 egg yolks and 4 whole eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups soft butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon cream

If dry yeast is used dissolve it in the warm milk or water along with the sugar. If fresh yeast is used, cream it with the sugar and add the milk or water. Add the 7 whole eggs, or the egg yolks and eggs, and stir well to blend. Add 2 cups flour, the salt, and the butter and beat thoroughly. Add the remaining flour, blend, and beat well. Beating Brioche dough is very important, as it is too soft to knead. Either beat it is a heavy-duty mixer, or else pick up the dough in your hands and slap it down on a breadboard. (This will become frustratingly sticky, which is why I beat the dough in a mixer, very thoroughly, before and after adding the last 2 cups flour.) When the dough has been well beaten, brush the top with melted butter, cover the bowl, and let it rise until doubled. Then punch it down, cover the bowl again, and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly. This will take at least 12 hours, so it is best to made Brioche dough the day before it is needed. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days. When needed, remove from refrigerator. Handle it quickly, as it soon becomes too soft to use. Brioche dough can be shaped in various ways. You might braid small pieces of dough and place the braids in small, buttered loaf tins (these are fluted tins available in specialty shops). Or make small loaves, or regular-sized loaves, or buns to be baked in buttered muffin tins. In any case, let the shaped dough rise until doubled. Glaze with egg yolk and cream. Bake rolls or buns at 400-degrees for 20 minutes; large loaves at 375-degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

NOTE: If desired add another 1/2 cup flour to the dough. Shape it into a crown or large round loaf and place on a buttered cookie sheet. Let rise until doubled and bake in a 375-degree oven until browned and done.

Next I'm going to buy some small loaf pans and try Terry's bread recipe. I'm just very afraid mine won't be as pretty as his turned out to be!


Thornton, Terry. A Weblog: Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi, "I'm Baking for the Sale at Itawamba Historical Society." :accessed June 10, 2009.
Casella, Dolores.
A World of Breads. NEW YORK:David White Company, 1966.
My Brioche, Digital Format. Privately held by Judith Richards Shubert, 2009.


Dawn said...

Thanks so much for your recent visit to my Blog and the kind words you left there for me - it meant the world to me and I appreciate it very much!

Thank you for all that you share with us through all of your Blogs... you have a very kind, generous spirit!

Best Wishes!


Judith Richards Shubert said...

I appreciate your kind words, Dawn. And I absolutely love your designs and your blog. I've used some of your "freebies" in my new ATCs. I am VERY new at creating ATCs and need all the help I can get!



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