There are several things that you will always find in my kitchen. Milk, of course, sugars of all kind, lemons, cereal (this is actually my downfall, I’m trying to cut back), vanilla bean paste, coconut extract – you know, the basics. But strangely enough, the one thing I will never consistently have in my kitchen is bread.
This is actually a problem, because there are many times when I just want some cinnamon sugar toast. Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You know, some solid carbs! But I can never seem to finish a loaf a bread when I do get it, so I always think that I don’t actually need to get it.
Until that one day when all I wanted to eat was some bread. I wanted a thick slice of a white country bread, lightly toasted and smothered with sweet butter. Remember my finals? These cravings happen. And I had no choice but to make it. So I did, and will forever have a loaf of this in my kitchen from now on.
I don’t know who Sally Lunn is but I believe her to be a genius. She makes one heck of a bread. Sweet and cakey and just perfect. I want to be her friend.
2 cups bread flour flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/8 teaspoon or 1/2 packet active dry or rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast by hand or with an electric mixer.
In a small pot, heat the milk and butter together until the mixture is warm. The butter may not have melted all the way and that’s fine. 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. Turn out to a floured surface, and continue to knead by hand until the dough has formed a smooth ball.
Scrape down bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, butter and flour a regular loaf pan. Once the dough has doubled, scrape it into the prepared pan with a rubber spatula. Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the plastic, let it continue to rise, and preheat your oven to 375°F.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out to a rack, upside down, to cool.
Cinnamon Vanilla Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix and incorporate everything together until well blended. Leave at room temperature so spreading on the bread will be easier.