Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sally Lunn Bread with Honeyed Brown Butter Spread

So I have to admit, when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I was primarily drawn to it for it's tempting accoutrement-- the honeyed brown butter spread.  I love honey butter to begin with, but browning it to add a nice nutty flavor and then adding a couple of pinches of sea salt?  I was sold.  And I figured I should make the bread too... you know, since you can't just eat butter by itself (or can you?!)

I really enjoy making bread, but having been in the throes of a sweltering Phoenix summer forever, or so it seems, the prospect of heating up the oven for over an hour at a time has been less than appealing.  This same sentiment also explains my general lack of posts in the summertime, as I eschew baking on days when walking outside feels akin to sticking my face in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.  Call me crazy.

Now that it's October, we've been granted a little reprieve from the heat and I'm back in the kitchen again and loving every minute of it.  I've made no less than three batches of chocolate chip meringue cookies in the last week for a multitude of reasons but mostly because a certain lovely someone in our household is eating gluten free these days and this is pretty much the only thing I make that doesn't contain copious amounts of flour.  However, last night, with the windows open in the house and the outdoor temperature in the mid seventies, I decided it was time to get my bread on (actually my honey butter, but here I am trying to pretend I'm a grownup who wouldn't just eat honey butter by the spoonful).

So the bread!  Pretty easy to make, especially using the Kitchen Aid mixer since it pretty much does all the hard work (read: mixing for minutes on end) for you.  It only rises for a total of an hour and thirty minutes, which makes this a bread doable on a weeknight, as opposed to sourdough which takes all dang day (the way I make it at least). In reading about this type of bread, some people said that it tasted like a lighter version of brioche which was appealing to me because I loooove brioche.  However, I felt like it (well, my loaf at least) really didn't resemble brioche in the slightest.  It was still a delicious bread, completely worthy of the to-die-for honey butter, but just didn't seem reminiscent of brioche to me.  It was very slightly sweet and relatively light in texture.  When I sliced a piece this morning, it seemed a bit crumbly but still toasted up nicely and tasted wonderful, particularly when adorned with the honey butter. 

Bottom line, a pretty tasty breakfast bread made even better with the accompanying honeyed brown butter spread.  I wish it were chewier, but that's just me (maybe bread flour next time for a higher protein content?).  One of these days I'll give this one another shot with some tweaking, but even as-is, it's a great recipe. 


*Recipe is for one 9"x5"x3" loaf of bread 

Bread Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 and 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolks
Bread Instructions

In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast by hand or with an electric mixer.

In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until the mixture is warm (105 to 110 degrees); don’t worry if this butter isn’t completely melted. Gradually pour the warm ingredients into the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or stir vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and another 1/2 cup flour and beat again for 2 minutes by machine or 3 by hand. Add the last of the flour and beat or stir until smooth.

Scrape down bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, butter and flour a 9×5x3-inch loaf pan. Once the dough has doubled, scrape it into the prepared pan. Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, however, remove the plastic and preheat your oven to 375°F.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingertips.  Cool in the pan for five minutes and then turn on to a rack to cool.

Honeyed Brown Butter Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Few pinches of flaky sea salt
Honeyed Brown Butter Instructions

In a small saucepan, melt half of the butter over medium heat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium-low. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 

While it is cooling, leave the other half of the butter out to soften slightly (semi-firm is fine).

Whip softened butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the room temperature browned butter, honey and salt continue whipping until combined. Chill butter in fridge until a nice spreadable consistency, or until needed.

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