Before no knead bread-mania hit the internets there was Sally Lunn, a sticky batter bread with origins in Bath, England. Sally is rich and buttery, and requires only 3 hours’ rest on the countertop, compared with no-knead’s 18-24. She’s fast and easy.
It’s a sticky, shaggy dough; not a batter in the quickbread sense, but gooey enough that you couldn’t knead it if you tried. (Don’t go adding more flour – it’s supposed to look like this.)
I decided on this maiden voyage to add cinnamon, candied citron and a handful of currants. And a few glace cherries that were going nowhere fast in the pantry. The goal: to make Sally Lunn taste like a big hot crossed bun. You could use any kind of dried or candied fruit; chopped dried apricots, cranberries, cherries, figs – whatever you think. Or just raisins. Or nothing at all – naked Sally Lunn.
The batter is baked in a round cake pan – the kind you’d use for an angel cake. This keeps it from sinking in the middle, and you can then cut ever so slightly wedged slices. A loaf baked in such a large pan makes perfectly sized slices, but lots of them – it’s like two loaves in one.
Next time I’ll try a savoury Sally, with a handful of grated cheese and a few sprigs of fresh herbs, or add nothing and see how she fares as sandwich bread. Until then I have a tidy stash of sweet slices in the freezer, destined to be toast.
Fruited Sally Lunn
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup warm water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened or melted
2 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 pkg.)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries and/or candied citron
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, eggs, sugar, butter and yeast; set aside for a few minutes, then whisk again. Stir in 4 cups of the flour along with the cinnamon and salt. Cover the sticky dough with a towel and set aside in a warm place for an hour.
Stir in the remaining half cup of flour along with the dried or candied fruit. Butter or spray a 9-inch tube pan and scrape the batter evenly into the pan; cover with a towel and let rise for another hour or two.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the Sally Lunn for 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and deep golden. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, then invert it and remove the sides and bottom. Slice and serve warm, with butter.
March 29 2013 10:42 am | bread