Saturday, May 21, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 10

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016  Challenge 10:

Breakfast Foods

The Challenge: Breakfast Foods

 It’s simple - make a breakfast dish. Get creative, but make sure to provide your documentation for its place at the breakfast table!

Work/real life is keeping me busy.  I didn't have the time to bake anything really involved. I didn't even have time to shop for yeast to make Sally Lunn buns. True Sally Lunn buns are a sweet, yeast roll similar to French brioche. They are somewhat similar to Bath Buns, which we know Jane Austen was quite fond of. Both Sally Lunns and Bath Buns are included in the breakfast sections of Dinner with Mr. Darcy by Pen Vogler and Cooking With Jane Austen and Friends by Laura Boyle. Both authors chose to include those recipes in breakfast based on 18th century writings that list bread, toast and rolls as breakfast foods. The official Sally Lunn house in Bath states: "Bath Bunns / Sally Lunn’s were eaten at the endless round of breakfast parties. Like brioches, they were eaten hot if possible, split open and liberally doused with melted butter. Bakers made them in different sizes that could either be cut up or eaten as individual portions." Here in America, American-born English gentlemen and ladies enjoyed Sally Lunn as a breakfast treat,according to an 1892 newspaper article that claims George Washington was so fond of Sally Lunn that it becamer known as "Washington's breakfast bread" or "Federal bread." (Smithsonian Institution). This version is more of a round loaf of yeast bread/cake.

This particular recipe for Quick Sally Lunn was included in the breads and breakfast section of the Ryzon Baking Book and is similar to Mrs. Beeton's Nice Breakfast Cakes. Therefore, I can justify it for this challenge.

The Recipe: Quick Sally Lunn
Ryzon Baking Book: A Practical Manual for the Preparation of Food Requiring Baking Powder, General Chemical Company, New York:  p.23

Date and Region: Florence, Alabama, 1917

How did you make it: First I tried Quick Sally Lunn from Mother's Cookbook by Marion Harland in 1902. The recipe is very basic but it was a total failure. I let my butter soften on the counter for a few hours and creamed it with sugar. When I added milk, my butter turned solid and wouldn't mix with the milk at all. After trying to heat it on the stove, I scrapped the batter and tried again with the above recipe.

I made a few changes. I used real butter instead of shortening and I used heavy cream instead of milk to try to replicate the taste of an old-fashioned Sally Lunn bun. I melted the butter before adding to my egg this time. I used Rumford Baking Powder as Ryzon is no longer available and Rumford is the best anyway. (I grew up in the shadow of the old factory). I baked the first batch at 375 for 15 minutes and then one extra minute. For the second batch I added more cream and baked for 16 minutes. 

How Successful Was It?: It was not. This recipe makes a crumbly biscuit with absolutely no flavor. This is a far cry from the sweet brioche buns I had in Bath. This is only tolerable with butter or better with butter and jam and best as a biscuit base for berry shortcake sprinkled with sugar. 

Time to Complete:  For the Ryzon recipe, about 30 minutes total. 

Total Cost:  I had all the ingredients on hand.

How Accurate Is It?: It must be accurate for WWI shortages but it is NOT a Sally Lunn bun.