Our Kitchen of the Month, Ilva – LuculianDelights – introduced this bread saying “I thought you might find it interesting to use a recipe (adapted by Elizabeth David) that was published 354 years ago.”
No, no Ilva, Elizabeth David was writing in the 50’s, that’s nothing like 354 years … haha, lucky for me I didn’t say anything and thereby show off my very sloppy reading skills. I googled The Accomplisht and then did an iBook search for Robert May … and lo and behold there was the 354 year old recipe!
How much thought have you given to how a recipe is written? What do you expect from a recipe?
Take a gallon of fine flour, and a pint of good new ale barm or yeast, and put it to the flour,
with the whites of six new laid eggs well beaten in a dish, and
mixt with the barm in the middle of the flour, also three spoonfuls of fine salt;
then warm some milk and fair water, and put to it, and make it up pretty stiff, being well wrought and worked up,
cover it in a boul or tray with a warm cloth till your oven be hot;
then make it up either in rouls, or fashion it in little wooden dishes and bake it, being baked in a quick oven, chip it hot.”
What did I change? Who me? Change a recipe? Add things? Would I do that!?
Right, I did or at least this is what I did. I used 250 water and 100 milk, 30 grams flax seed, and … half King Arthur’s Sir Lancelot for the unbleached white flour and a mix of Sprouted Wheat and white whole wheat for the whole wheat. This was so fast, so easy … my expectations were VERY low. This turned out to be exceptional! Wonderfully fragrant and chewy! … and the crowd went wild …
Since Ilva’s challenge here was to give this a special shape, I went for simple – simple recipe, simple shape – but wanted to try something I hadn’t done before. When I formed the dough into a round, the shape sort of spoke to me. I took scissors and snipped it around turning the plate as I snipped. Raw it looked like a Christmas tree but it smoothed and flattened some in the pie palate that I baked it in. Had I not shaped rolls with a third of the dough, I believe it would not have spread out and flattened as much.
I loved the rolls. I thought to make little sandwiches but just toasted and buttered was as far as I got.
Bake it! you won’t regret it, I promise.
BBB Robert May’s French Bread from 1660
Recipe From as Kitchen of the Month Ilva: from Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery
500 grams half-and-half mixture of unbleached white and wheatmeal, 1 lb 2 oz
15 grams yeast (fresh), 0,5 oz
2 egg whites
280-340 grams water and milk,preferably 3/4 water and 1/4 milk, 0,5 pint to 12 oz
15 grams salt, 0,5 oz
1. – Warm flour and salt in a very tepid oven. (you can skip this but I did it) … yes, I skipped this.
2. – Pour in the yeast creamed in a little of the warmed milk and water mixture. Add the egg whites, beaten in a small bowl until they are just beginning to froth. Pour in the remaining milk (but not all at once like I did, I had to add more flour to get the right consistency). Mix as for ordinary bread dough. Oh, good grief, I did dump all of it in at once.
3. – Leave to rise until spongy and light. This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the temperature of the ingredients when the dough as mixed. My took an hour.
4. – Break down the dough, divide it into two round loaves-or long rolls if you prefer. (I made one oval loaf). Cover with plastic or a light cloth and leave to recover volume. About 30 minutes should be enough.
5. – Decorate crust with cuts or not. Bake in a pre-heated oven (230°C/450°F) for the first 15 minutes. Then to prevent the crust to get too hard, cover the loaves with bowls or an oval casserole. In another 15 minutes the l0aves should be ready. (I did not cover my loaf because I had nothing of that size of shape that I could use so I lowered the temperature to 175°C/350°F and left it in for another 15-20 minutes.
As an aside, not bread related, I ask: Just how wild do you think the American west is today? Let’s say in Montana.
We took these photos as we drove through Montana from Seattle back to our cabin in the woods.
Maybe not so wild. Sign said do not approach the animals.
Want to become a Bread Baking Babe? and get glorious bread in the process, here’s how Ilva tells it: You have to take look at what the other Bread Baking Babes have made and if you want to bake this bread and become a Bread Baking Buddie, please bake and send me the link to your blog post about it before midnight Saturday 28th of September to luculliandelights AT gmail DOT com, please write Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line so that I don’t miss it!
Now you’re ready for bread!
September 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm
I agree, this bread was really easy to make, but it’s really good. I liked the way you snipped it around the top. Simple yet effective.
September 17, 2014 at 2:07 am
Ha! This is to show you that simple is as good as complicated and sometimes even better! I love simple! Well, it has to be good too obviously but with good ingredients it usually is, be it bread or food. And I love your simple decoration, I can see a future for that in this kitchen!
September 17, 2014 at 3:53 am
O yes I’ll be making rolls the next time too. Lovely how snipping some scissors at your dough, give such a nice result!
And wow you’ve seen some amazing things on all your travels, love it.
September 17, 2014 at 6:14 am
I love that snipping technique – so pretty! And I’m going to follow your lead and make rolls next time…and hopefully use them for sandwiches. I had to click on the photo to see those weren’t wild mustangs or pintos or something (boo) ;). Is the buffalo real? It’s huge!
September 17, 2014 at 7:36 am
Yes, Heather, buffalo was really real and very huge.
September 17, 2014 at 7:29 am
Excellent! I really like the Christmas tree slashes! And who cares that the bread is flat, when it tastes so good?
Those mustangs on the ridge look amazing. Can you imagine coming along there in the early morning and seeing that? It would be even easier to wonder why they weren’t moving. (Thos are scultpures, aren’t they??)
September 17, 2014 at 7:38 am
😇 yes, Elizabeth, they are iron statutes.
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September 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm
You could have given the buffalo some bread….. Or not. I want the slice with the chopped tomatoes (there is garlic in that, right?)
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September 18, 2014 at 6:17 am
Loving the simplicity of the bread…….and the extra little rolls ! Enjoyed the photos of your trip as well!!!!
September 18, 2014 at 6:24 am
Oh look at that beauty! Isn’t he gorgeous! (yes and that other beauty as well ;-)) Love the slashes, just saw the unbaked version and was so curious to see how it came out, lovely!
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