Some say she was French, others British, others doubt she even existed at all. Regardless of her history, real or not, Sally Lunn’s namesake bread with its copious amounts of butter, eggs and sugar along with flour and the all-important yeast might sound like French brioche, but it’s not. A bit more streamlined and easier to produce Sally Lunn is a wonderful bread, perfect for all sorts of applications with its golden and dense crumb, it’s perfect for sandwiches especially when prepared in the classic Pullman loaf pan.
The Pullman pan is a wonderful contraption; sturdy and rectangular it comes with its own removable lid. This lid, that effortlessly slides on and off offers the baker the ability to create a perfect rectangular loaf. No more domed crusts that often gets in the way of many an application, this bread due to the “wonderLid” creates an almost crust-less bread with a dense fine crumb.
As America was developing the Pullman railway lounge and dining cars in the mid 1800’s they found in an effort to maximize space this rectangular lidded baking pan found in France as the “pain de mie” pan, was perfect for creating stellar sandwich breads. You see, they realized that three of these new loaves occupied the same space as two standard round-topped loaves, thus maximizing the use of space in the small Pullman kitchens and viola, the pan used for well over 100 years in Europe was rechristened as the Pullman loaf.
Like my other yeast recipes this Sally Lunn loaf utilizes a sous vide yeast proofing technique. It streamlines my yeast baking process and takes any “yeast angst” out of the equation. It breaks down my technique to the “bag-o-yeast” and the bowl of dry ingredients and when ready all I need to do is, blend together and mix away! The water bath of the SV1 circulator is also the perfect location to set my dough for rising. I simply place a bowl of sufficient size over the water bath and cover, it works beautifully.
• 1 cup milk, whole
• 6 tablespoons unsalted "sweet” butter, plus more for pan and finishing
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon yeast, active dry
• 5 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 4 grade A large egg, whole, lightly beaten
1. Heat the VacMaster SV1 water bath to 43°C/110°F
2. Using the VacMaster Bag Filler and an appropriate sized VacMaster bag add the milk, butter, sugar and yeast.
3. Using a VacMaster chamber machine vacuum seal the bag
4. Gently place the bag in the water bath of the SV1 and warm for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast begins to bloom
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer blend the flour and salt thoroughly
6. With the machine running on low fitted with the dough hook, drizzle in the proofed yeast mixture
7. Add the beaten eggs and blend over low until a dough forms.
8. Mix the dough for 3-5 five minutes or until you achieve a smooth dough
9. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the preheated SV1 water bath or in a warm draft free area place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
10. Butter a Pullman loaf pan measuring 13" x 4" x 4” inches as well as the interior of the lid.
11. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl onto your lightly floured work surface and gently knead about 1 minute.
12. Using the Pullman pan as a guide for the length, roll the dough into a log shape.
13. Transfer dough (seam side down) to the prepared Pullman pan and cover with plastic wrap, let rise until dough reaches top of pan about 30 - 60 minutes.
14. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
15. Uncover and gently butter the top surface being careful not to deflate the dough much.
16. Carefully insert the buttered pan lid and transfer to the middle center of your oven
17. Bake until bread is dark and golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckles, 40 to 45 minutes.
18. Remove pan from oven and turn bread out onto a wire rack; serve warm or let cool, if desired.
19. For a soft, flavorful crust, brush the loaf on all sided with melted butter while warm.