Thursday, March 15, 2012

sally lunn

I made a Sally Lunn tonight.
I have always thought of this as my grandmothers very own bread and was rather taken aback to see that Google knew all about Sally Lunn.
It's a wonderful bread, a batter bread, no kneading required.
It bakes in a tube pan and looks more like cake than bread.
It is low in sugar and fat and studded with sweet, dried currants; practically health food.
It's a family heirloom, a gift from some long ago twig of my family tree no doubt.

A cup of steaming, fragrant tea and an ample slice of Sally Lunn is one of life's great pleasures.

Take a mixing bowl and pour half a cup of lukewarm water into it.
The temperature of the water is important because yeast may look dry as dust, but it is actually alive. Hot water will kill it dead as a door nail, and cold water will stun it into inactivity.
Sprinkle about two teaspoons of yeast over the water as well as a pinch of sugar. The sugar is food for the yeast. Apparently, when it awakens in the warm water, food is on its mind.
Let the yeast soak in the warm, sweetened water for a few minutes.
Five is usually plenty.
You will see the yeast rise to the surface of the water and look abit frothy.
This is a good sign.

I used to put one quarter of a cup of water, half a cup of milk, half a cup of butter, one third of a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and heat just enough to melt the butter.
Of course, then I had wait until the mixture was cooled slightly so as not to wipe out the happy yeast in the mixing bowl.
Now I often use olive oil instead of butter and just add the liquids, the oil, the sugar and the salt into the mixing bowl and get on with my life.
You can add half the oil and it will still work. And less sugar too for that matter. I love recipes like that because I don't really like to measure.

Anyway, add the quarter cup of water and half cup of milk and quarter to half cup of oil and up to one third cup of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Then add three eggs or less, one or two will still work, and add one and a half cups of flour.
You can beat this batter with a spoon or an electric mixer until it is smooth as satin.
Then add another two cups of flour give or take a smidge.
You want a stiff batter.
I usually cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let the batter rise for an hour.
Then I stir the batter and add a generous amount of currents, half a cup at least. Citrus zest could be good and so could finely sliced, dried apricots, but currents are traditional.
The batter gets scooped into a greased 10 inch tube pan, but loaf pans would work too.
The batter is probably going to hold together in the bowl like a big blob and you'll have to encourage it to spread out in the tube pan. It's kind of clingy that way.
Let rise for about an hour or at least half an hour if you are rushed and desperate.
Double in bulk is a good goal, but it will rise more in the oven anyway.

Bake at 325 for about 45-50 minutes.

Put on the kettle and get out your favourite mug.

No comments: