As fans of the internationally acclaimed television series Downton Abbey are very aware of, the American release of season three is just a few days away and there is really no better way to celebrate than enjoying the food of the era when the show takes place. So as you get ready to venture back into the abbey for another season, settle down with some wonderful authentic Edwardian cuisine.
Bread. If you watch Downton Abbey like millions of other people in America, you see Mrs. Patmore (the abbey cook) always making breads and always covered in flour. Whether it be the Edwardian era or any other era of mankind, breads have been a staple of the peoples diet. Perhaps this is one of the reasons there is an adage which states "bread is the staff of life."
This bread, known today as Buttermilk Bread, was actually known during the Edwardian era as Cultured Milk Bread. Most of the abbey's had their own dairys, thus they always had fresh milk and they made their "buttermilk" by simply adding a citric acid to it. Quite simple. In today's world many people make faux buttermilk almost the same way, by adding some vinegar to whole milk.
This is a very simple and delicious bread to make at home. If you want to see a full how-to slideshow on making Buttermilk Bread, go to the free Facebook page The Food of Downton Abbey.
Ingredients needed to make Buttermilk Bread (makes 1 loaf):
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 Tbs. butter, softened
- 2 tsp. yeast
- 3 cups flour
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- In a large bowl, whisk the warm water and butter until the butter has melted. Whisk in the yeast and set the bowl aside 5 minutes for the yeast to proof (foam).
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt.
- Add all the ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir to form a dough.
- Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead 5 minutes.
- Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a floured surface and knead a few minutes to release the air.
- Place the dough in the prepared loaf pan and let rise 1 hour.
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Place into the oven and bake 40 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack until ready to slice and serve.
The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."