After one year and 104 recipes, I finished the Brooks Bakes Bread Project on March 27, 2012. You can still find me baking and cooking at my new blog, Tangled Up In Food.

Categories: Batter Breads

Dill-Seed Bread
October 9, 2011

by stacy
Published on: October 9, 2011
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“[Dill-Seed Bread] has a nice crumb, lightness, a delicious ‘nose,’ and a very pleasant ‘dilly’ flavor.  I prefer using 2 teaspoons of dill weed to the dill seed…”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Yesterday I made my last Batter Bread, Dill-Seed Bread.  Since I followed Beard’s suggestion of using fresh dill weed, it should really be called “Dill-Weed Bread.”

Here are the ingredients:

Dill-Seed Bread Ingredients

Although it’s in the “Batter Bread” chapter, Dill-Seed Bread is not really a batter bread since you have to knead it before shaping it into a loaf.  The cottage cheese makes for a very lumpy, wet dough–I had a hard time shaping it into a decent looking loaf.

After one hour-long rise, the loaf was ready for the oven.

Dill-Seed Bread Afer Rising

I checked on the loaf after 20 minutes at 375 degrees.  It was a dark brown color, and the top and bottom sounded hollow when thumped.  However, as I sliced the bread I discovered a doughy streak running down the middle.  I put the semi-sliced loaf in the oven for an additional 7 minutes to make sure it was baked all the way through.

Dill-Seed Bread

Dill-Seed Bread was a disappointment for me.  The cottage cheese gives the bread a strange and unappealing heavy, damp texture, and I discovered that I really don’t like chopped onion in my bread.  Luckily, Mike thinks Dill-Seed Bread is tasty and is using it to make corned-beef sandwiches.  There are so many little ways in which he’s the perfect husband for me.

Golden Cake Batter Bread
September 25, 2011

by stacy
Published on: September 25, 2011
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“A light, rather sweetish, easy-to-make bread that is similar to Sally Lunn.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Yesterday marked the official halfway mark for the Brooks Bakes Bread project: I made loaf number 52, Golden Cake Batter Bread.  The recipe can be found on the James Beard Foundation’s website.

Here are the ingredients:

Golden Cake Batter Bread Ingredients

The recipe starts out like a cake recipe: I mixed all the ingredients, except for 2 cups of flour, together with an electric mixer to form a thin batter.  Next, I mixed in the remaining two cups of flour into the batter to make a thicker, more dough-like batter.  I let this mixture rise for one hour, stirred it down, and let it rise for another 45 minutes.

Since I was concerned that my kitchen was too cool to allow for a good rise, I set my oven to “warm”, let it heat up, and then turned it off.  I placed the dough in the slightly-warmed oven for both of its risings.

Golden Cake Batter Bread After Second Rising

Mindful of the thick, tough crust that developed on my Sally Lunn bread, I pulled the bread out of the oven after only 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  It was perfect: fully baked and golden, but not overly browned.

Golden Cake Batter Bread

Golden Cake Batter Bread is very similar to Sally Lunn–perhaps a bit sweeter, but it shares the same rich buttery flavor and spongy texture.  When cooled, it makes excellent toast.

In the past 6 months, I have baked 52 bread recipes, most good, some mediocre, a few downright inedible (Prune Bread, I’m thinking of you!); washed innumerable dishes; hauled home at least a dozen sacks of flour; and logged hours blogging about it all.  It has been a lot of work, and sometimes additional stress.  But taste of fresh bread, the joy of discovering a new recipe, and the sense of accomplishment more than makes up for everything.  I can’t wait to see where the next 52 loaves take me.

Sally Lunn
September 12, 2011

by stacy
Published on: September 12, 2011
Categories: Batter Breads, Sally Lunn
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“This is an old, old recipe for Sally Lunn…It makes a beautiful standing loaf that, when fresh, should be torn apart with forks rather than cut, to maintain its lightness.  Or, after cooling, it can be sliced and toasted.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

After spending yesterday afternoon blogging about bread, I was in the mood to bake some more.  I settled on Sally Lunn as an easy recipe to try.

Here are the ingredients:

Sally Lunn Ingredients

I didn’t have enough all-purpose flour on hand, so I substituted bread (or hard wheat) flour.

Since this is a batter bread recipe, there is no kneading–I just mixed the ingredients together and let the dough rise for about an hour.  Then, I stirred the dough a bit and poured it into a Bundt pan (I didn’t have a regular tube pan, so I used my Bundt/fluted tube pan).  Then I let the dough rise for another hour and a half.

Sally Lunn After Second Rising

I baked the bread at 375 degrees for 30 minutes (15 minutes less than the minimum time recommended), and it was already becoming over-browned.

Sally Lunn

Sally Lunn tastes amazing–buttery with the perfect hint of sweetness.  When served hot out of the oven, it has a wonderful fluffy texture; when cool, it has a dense texture similar to a pound cake.  My only complaint is that the crust was too tough; I recommend keeping a very close eye on the bread and removing from the oven as soon as it starts to brown.

English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven
July 18, 2011

by stacy
Published on: July 18, 2011
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“You are going to be amused watching this bread rise in the microwave oven.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

“That looks like mutant bread.”
-Mike

Yesterday was 93 degrees, with a heat index of 107.  For some incomprehensible reason, I decided that attending the Twins game at Target Field, their outdoor stadium, would be a good way to spend the afternoon.  I left after the sixth inning, when my sunscreen started melting off.

When I returned to my blessedly air-conditioned home, just the thought of turning on the oven sapped away my energy.  So I decided to try possibly the strangest recipe in Beard on Bread: English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven.

Here are the ingredients:

English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven Ingredients

This recipe is very similar to English Muffin Bread, except that it is baked in the microwave instead of the oven.  Why?  Beard on Bread was first published in 1973, when microwaves were new technology.  Baking bread in a microwave would have seemed novel and fun, instead of somewhat weird.

After mixing the ingredients together and letting the dough rise for an hour, I divided the dough between my improvised loaf pans, two microwave-safe plastic containers.  I let the dough rise for an additional 30 minutes, and then it was time to microwave my loaves.

English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven after Second Rising

Since I grew up with microwave technology, I didn’t find watching dough being microwaved all that amusing.  Each loaf took 6 minutes and 30 seconds, Beard’s recommended cooking time.

Since microwaving doesn’t brown the bread, my loaves of English Muffin Bread looked like solidified masses of dough–Mike thought they were pretty unappetizing.

English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven

Despite the odd appearance, the bread’s taste was comparable to English Muffin Bread; however, I thought that the oven-baked version was spongier and had a much better texture.  Baking the bread in the microwave only shaves about 13 minutes off the entire process, because you still have to let the bread rise twice.  For the time investment, I would rather spend 13 more minutes to bake the bread in the oven and get a better loaf.  However, for those days when your sunscreen is melting off, English Muffin Bread for Microwave Oven is an edible option.

 

English Muffin Bread
July 14, 2011

by stacy
Published on: July 14, 2011
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“As its name suggests, this bread is derived from English muffin batter…it is excellent when sliced and toasted, otherwise, it is rather uninteresting.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

After the delicious Crumpets I made a few weeks ago, I wanted to try a similar recipe, English Muffin Bread.

Here are the ingredients:

English Muffin Bread Ingredients

Since this is a batter bread, there is no kneading required: I mixed all the ingredients except the baking soda together, and let the batter rise for about an hour.  Then I mixed in the baking soda and divided the batter between two 8 x 4 pans.  After another 45 minutes of rising time, the batter had risen to the top of the pans and was ready to go into the oven.

English Muffin Bread After Second Rising

Beard doesn’t specify a baking time for this bread–the recipe just says to “Bake the bread in a preheated 375 degree oven until it is golden on top and shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan.”  One of my loaves (the one in the aluminum pan) was done after 20 minutes; the other (in a non-stick pan) was done after 25 minutes.

English Muffin Bread

Beard claims that untoasted English Muffin Bread is “uninteresting.”  Mike and I beg to differ.  Fresh out of the oven, it is a light, airy, tastily delightful bread.  Toasted, English Muffin Bread cannot even be compared to a commercial English muffin–the texture is incredible and the taste is perfect.  English Muffin Bread is absolutely divine.  Both loaves were gone within 24 hours.

English Muffin Bread

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About the Baker
I'm a paralegal living and working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Besides baking, blogging, and eating bread, I love knitting and enjoying the Minnesota outdoors. My husband, Mike, is the Brooks Bakes Bread website developer, bread photographer, and chief taste tester.
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