This bread is easy enough to make and tasty enough for you to say, "No More Cardboard Bread"! Once you make this bread, you will be spoiled forever and won't want to buy any store-bought bread again. (Sometimes we "have" to, but you won't "want" to.) My wife won't let me call it Sally Lunn bread. She says its taste and texture is nowhere near that of the real Sally Lunn bread. So, I will say only that this bread was inspired by Sally. My method is about as bare-boned and easy as possible. Forget about "dry" ingredients and "wet" ingredients. Just dump everything into the breadmaker. OK. Wet ingredients go first and then dry ingredients. It takes me less than 10 minutes to get the bread maker going. I do go through the trouble of having the bread maker make the dough and then putting the dough into a proper bread pan. It tastes better if it has the right shape.
Step 1: The Recipe for No More Cardboard Bread
Basics – No More Cardboard Bread
½ cup softened butter (or ½ cup canola or olive oil or just plain vegetable oil)
1 cup warm water (speeds up the yeast action)
2 large eggs
⅓ cup sugar
1 cup powdered milk
½ teaspoon salt
3 ¼ cups (exact measurements) flour
1 package dry yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine* in the order given.
After the dough has mixed for about 15 minutes, check that a nice flour ball has formed.
Add water or flour to make a good consistency. If you measured the flour and water accurately, you should get a flour ball that is easy to pick up and not mushy or sticky.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of bread loaf pan. I usually divide the dough into unequal parts and bake for about 40 minutes. The bigger part goes into a regular size loaf pan, the other can go onto a cookie sheet.
Add walnuts, raisins, etc after about 30 minutes of mixing the dough.
If raisins are added too soon, they become mushy.
*If you don't have a bread machine, you can do the mixing by hand. Usually, you mix it on a floured surface, let it rise in a warm place, mix it again, and let it rise again.
Step 2: Hot Water
I heat a cup of water in the microwave and get it to almost boiling. I add the water first so that by the time I add the yeast at the end, it does not kill the yeast but does make it work faster.
Step 3: Butter (or Oil)
The butter should be at room temperature when added to the bread maker. I never remember to warm the butter to room temperature before making bread, so I take it directly from the refrigerator and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes at Defrost. the butter is almost--but not quite--melted then. It's just right. If you use vegetable oil instead of butter, obviously you do not need to defrost anything, just add a half cup of oil.
Step 4: Add Two Eggs
This is easy enough. Two whole eggs are added to the mixture. This concludes the "wet" ingredients part.
Step 5: Add Sugar, Salt and Dry Milk Powder
Add 1/3 cup of sugar to "feed" the yeast and add some sweetness to the bread. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and one package (1 cup) of dry milk powder.
Step 6: Add Flour
This needs to be measured precisely. Add exactly 3 1/4 cup of flour. Use a knife to level the top. No guessing here. It must be exact, otherwise, you will either have a very hard bread or a very soggy dough that is impossible to dump into the baking pan.
Step 7: Add Yeast
Add one package of yeast. I've never been very particular about what kind of yeast to use. I generally use generic ingredients for everything, unless the brand name is on sale.
Step 8: Stir Together
I can't say this is really necessary, but I like to use the handle of a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients before I start the bread maker. If I do this, I know whether the consistency is what I expect and that I didn't forget a cup of flour or something. I don't spend much time on this step. You can see in the second picture, that it is very roughly stirred together.
Step 9: Put the Mixture Into the Bread Maker
I don't like the shape of the bread as the bread maker bakes it, so I just use the Dough setting and let the bread maker handle the kneading and rising parts. It's very handy to not have to worry about kneading and putting the bread dough in a "warm" place. I never understood what a "warm" place meant. The bread maker does understand quite well, and I don't have to worry about it.
Step 10: Prepare the Pan for the Dough
If you saw my instructable on Dump the Bundt, you would see that I use a mixture of oil and flour to coat the baking pan. I mix two tablespoons of oil and one tablespoon of flour and meticulously apply the mixture to all parts of the inside of the baking pan. After baking, this lets you dump the bread without any effort or scraping needed.
Step 11: Dump the Dough Into the Baking Pan
If you used exact flour measurements, you should be able to dump the dough right into the baking pan. I use plastic food gloves in case I have to help it along a little bit. Also, a side note here, I usually make one large loaf and a small loaf, because the amount of dough is just a bit too much for a normal bread pan. The small loaf is roughly 1 1/2 cups. I just put it on a cookie sheet or into another bread pan. Notice in the pictures that I score the bread with a knife. If that is not done, the bread will have some deep crevasses where you don't want them. This way, you put the crevasses in a neat pattern on top of the bread.
Step 12: Put the Bread Into the Oven
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes. If you put all of the dough into the bread pan, you will need 50+ minutes. Generally, if there are two loaves--a little one and a big one--45 minutes is just right.
Step 13: Take the Bread Out and Dump It
Take the bread out of the oven and dump it. You'll see there is a little, tiny bit of bread on the side of the pan, but that's all. I did not scrape anything. The bread just fell out. If you look closely, you will see in the last picture that the bread isn't quite done. I should have added at least 5-10 minutes to baking time. I usually do not put all of the dough in the pan, but for this instructable, I did. There seems to be no way to finish baking unbaked bread. To use this delicious bread, I simply make toast out it. It's still quite edible and delicious. No more cardboard bread!
Step 14: Credits
The title, "No More Cardboard Bread" was shamelessly borrowed from my pastor who made a series called "No More Boring Sermons" for pastors, seminary students and professors. You can actually see his series here, if you are interested--he's got some good ideas: https://www.firstmennonitechurch.org/Outreach Check out the series under "Outreach on Social Media".
The bread itself was inspired by the 400 year-old Sally Lunn Restaurant in Bath, England. My wife and I thought the bread was incredibly delicious. Especially the soup bowl bread filled with soup. I'd recommend that you visit the restaurant next time you are in Bath. http://www.sallylunns.co.uk/