An exceptional bread, made in a most rustic and glorious manner. Perfect toasted with rich, creamy butter and served for breakfast or as an accompaniment for soups.

Saffron Bread (England, 15th Century)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breads and Rolls
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 package (1/2 ounce) yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 3 1/2 Cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup raisins (optional)
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk with the saffron. Let it cool. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.
  2. Sift together 3 Cups of the flour and the salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour, spoon in the eggs, milk, and yeast mixture and blend. Add enough flour to prevent it becoming sticky.
  4. Knead, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put in a greased bowl in a warmish place and leave to rise until it is double in bulk (about 45 minutes).
  5. Punch down and shape into a round loaf. Place this on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise until it has again doubled in size.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, then cool on a rack.
  7. If you decide to use raisins, knead them in after punching the dough down the first time. The sugar should be mixed in with the flour at the beginning.
Notes
Good for tea; keeps a long time; good for breading fish or veal.

"Stale slices baked very slowly in the oven can be turned into excellent rusks. Rub those with garlic and use them as a garnish for fish soup."

From: "Seven Centuries of English Cooking" by Maxime de la Falaise.

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