As fans of the internationally acclaimed television series Downton Abbey are very aware of, the American release of season three is underway 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.
Has anyone else noticed that in America bakeries are going the way of the dodo bird. It used to be that almost every neighborhood had a local bakery filled with pure artisan yumminess and some of the best breads around. Now, it seems if you want bread, you have to buy the chemically loaded breads at the market (and yes, even in the markets with so-called bakeries, the breads are loaded with chemicals).
During the Edwardian era in England (and throughout Europe) bread kept many people alive. If you didn't make your own, for a few cents you could buy a loaf from the local baker. Matter-of-fact, you could often find day-old bread for free. There is nothing quite like the taste (and aroma) of a loaf of artisan bread.
This bread, a staple of the Edwardian era (and before and after) is a very simple bread to make. No fancy ingredients. No fancy techniques. Simply make the dough, let it rise a few times, shape it and bake it!
To see the how-to slideshow for making this bread, go to the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey.
Ingredients needed to make Edwardian Style Country Loaf Bread (makes 2 loaves):
- 1 Tbs. yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir to form a dough.
- Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes.
- Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down (literally put your fist into it). Re-cover the bowl and let rise 1 more hour.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet.
- Remove the dough the from the bowl and divide in half. Form each half into a loaf.
- Place the loaves on the prepared baking sheet and with a sharp knife, make a few slashes across the top.
- Let the dough rest 30 minutes.
- Place into the oven and bake 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Chef's Note: The secret to getting a lush golden glaze on this bread (or any bread) is noted in the slideshow on the Faebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey.
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."