Thursday, June 30, 2016

Corncob Jelly: A Tasty Maryland Recipe

Corn Cob Jelly

About the Recipe
The nature of this recipe and the fact that it is listed in the recipe as "An Old Eastern Shore recipe" suggests that it could go back to the early 20th century. Commercial pectin is used in the recipe; it was first developed in a liquid form in Germany in 1908 and a US patent for it was obtained in 1913.


Here is the recipe from "Bay Country Cooking" Compiled by the Homemakers of Anne Arundel County, Maryland (my own county of residence), 1978:


Notes on the Recipe:
  • This recipe yields about 4 cups (4 half-pint size jars)
  • The recipe as written doesn't actually gel. Therefore, some modifications need to be made:
    • Increase the amount of pectin to 2 ounces, or 4 tablespoons.
    • Increase the amount of sugar to 3 1/3 cups.
    • Increase the second boiling time to 20 minutes, or until the jelly reaches 220ºF, for a total of 25 minutes.
    • Use the largest cooking pan you own because this will bubble up a lot as it climbs in temperature.
Cooking the Cobs!

How to Use Corncob Jelly:
  • Use it as a glaze on poultry, fresh pork, or ham
  • Serve it with cheese and crackers
  • Heat the jelly, pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with toast points or any cracker
  • Serve on toast
  • Serve on corn muffins with butter

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fried Corn: Buttery and Delicious!

Fried Corn
This recipe is from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations. 

I really like this recipe because it reflects that this manuscript was written in Maryland, a colony/state that was dependent upon Indian corn (maize) from the time of settlement in the 1630s until the late 18th century and beyond. Of course, the history of corn in the Americas reaches much farther back than the 17th century. Below are some highlights as it relates to what was needed for this recipe - sweet corn.

History of Corn (Zea mays)
This recipe requires a type of corn that is sweet and tender enough to be consumed as a grain. Today, this is not really a big deal because sourcing tender, juicy and sweet corn is easily done. The history of corn, however, proves that this was not always the case. Corn has a very long and complex history. Below are some highlights to help you understand the place of sweet corn in American history. However, the history of corn is much more involved and complex than what I have described here. See below for sources to check out to find out more about this very American grain. 

Corn, also known as of Zea mays, was first domesticated from a wild grass known as teosinte which is native to central and southern Mexico, and Central America. Evidence of ancient corn cobs found in caves in Mexico proves that domesticated corn goes as far back as over 6200 years ago.

There are several types of corn and they are classified as follows: dent corn, flint corn, flour corn, popcorn, sweet corn, waxy corn, and pod corn. The most popular type of corn grown in the United States has traditionally been dent corn, though flint corn was also grown. These types of field corns have tough seed coats and because they were allowed to fully mature in the fields, their natural sugars had lots of time to convert into starch. This type of corn grown by settlers was not tender enough to eat off the cob as a grain when fully mature. As a result, dent corn was mostly processed into the hominy and/or grits that played such a huge role in the diet of many Marylanders, both enslaved and free, who worked the land by farming the incredibly labor intensive cash crop, tobacco.

Sweet Corn
Field types of corn such as dent could also be picked when they were "green", or young, and therefore immature enough to still contain inherent natural sugars not yet converted into starch. This corn would have been sweeter and more tender than when fully mature and therefore could be eaten as a grain. How often this was done by European settler is hard to know for sure.

There are other types of corn that are genetically more sweet than the field varieties in their green stage. Varieties of sweet corn that are naturally sweet evolved as a genetic mutation which causes the kernels to accumulate about two times the amount of sugar than field corn. These types of corn are the result of naturally occurring recessive mutations in the genes controlling the conversion of sugar to starch in the endosperm of the corn kernels. Therefore, these types of corn strains were genetically ideal to be picked when young or green to be eaten as a grain.

While these naturally sweet strains were not really popular in the US before the 19th century, several Native American tribes had been growing sweet varieties of corn. Chullpi from Peru or Papoon from Mexico were the two most significant types of naturally occurring sweet corn. Papoon definitely made its way from Mexico to as far as the northeastern portion of North America and was acquired by the settlers from the Iroquois Indians in 1779.

Because settlers weren't really exposed to sweet corn until the late 18th century, it is no surprise then that sweet varieties of corn did not became more popular in North America until the 19th century, when planters started experimenting with them and crossing them with other varieties, making the grain even sweeter and more tender than ever before. Interestingly, it was the 19th century invention of the canning process that sparked the desire to develop even sweeter strains of sweet corn so that the taste of sweet fresh corn on the cob could be captured in a can for year-round enjoyment. Interestingly, modern varieties of sweet corn are bred to be as sweet as possible, containing three to four times more sugar than their field counterparts.


Here is a delicious 19th century Maryland recipe for using sweet corn as a grain:

Fried Corn
Strip and rasp twelve ears of corn avoiding the husk, it will yield one pint & ¾ have a pan or skillet heated and melt half pound of butter in it. Stir in the corn & season it with ground pepper and salt – if it be too thick, add 3 tablespoonfuls of new milk-stir it all the time it is being cooked, and form it for the table.

Fried Corn: Modern Recipe Adaptation
Ingredients:
  • 12 Small Ears of Sweet Corn or 4-5 Cups of Corn Kernels
  • 2 Sticks of Salted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Whole Milk or Cream
  • Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Directions:
1. Scrape the kernels of corn off of the cobs. 
2. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, melt the  butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn to the butter, season with salt and pepper, and fry for about five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another five minutes. Stir frequently so that the corn starts to brown evenly.


Fried Corn Browning as it Cooks

3.  Add the milk or cream and cook on low for another five minutes over very low heat.
4. Serve immediately.

References

  • Betty Fussell, The Story of Corn (New York, 1992)
  • Lance Gibson and Garren Benson, "Origin, History, and Uses of Corn (Zea mays)", Iowa State University, Department of Agronomy, January 2002
  • "Sweet Corn": https://cals.arizona.edu/fps/sites/cals.arizona.edu.fps/files/cotw/Sweet_Corn.pdf

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Tart of Green Peas

Tart of Green Peas. c. 1596


This recipe is from an online class by FutureLearn called A History of Royal Food and Feasting by the University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces and was presented in Week 2 of the course which focuses on the foods eaten during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 who ruled from 1558 until 1603.

This recipe is definitely different! Now, I like peas. I have had them straight up, mushy, on top of pizza in Venice, and baked into a savory chicken pie; however, I have never had a pie devoted solely to this humble legume. The addition of saffron and verjuice make this pie even more interesting, and, yes, a bit odd.

Verjuice actually means "green juice." It is an acidic liquid made from unripe sour grapes (or crabapples). It was used in Roman cookery, but was very popular in Medieval cooking, and even used into the 19th century. It is very popular in Iranian cuisine and is starting to be given more attention in modern American cookery. It was also used historically as a medicine.  

Verjuice is a good substitute for lemon juice or vinegar. It has a sour taste but fruity and not quite as sour as vinegar. It's mostly found in recipes for salad dressing, soups, stews, and sauces. Granted, you probably cannot find this in the average American grocery store, but it can be found easily enough online.

The recipe for A Tart of Green Peas is from Thomas Dawson's Good Housewife's Jewel, 1596:

Take half a peck of green peas, sheal them and seethe them, and cast them into a colander, and let the water go from them. Then put them into a tart whole. Season them with pepper, saffron and salt, and a dish of sweet butter. Close and bake him almost one hour. Then draw him and put to him a little verjuice, and shake them and let them into the oven again, and so serve it.

My Recipe Adaptation 
(with a bit of help from the online course)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Box (2 Sheets) Puff Pastry
  • 5 Cups Fresh or Frozen Green Peas
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Saffron
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Verjuice 

Directions:
1.  Heat the oven to 350º F.
2. Line a deep dish pie plate with one of the puff pastry sheets. Place in the refrigerator while you assemble the filling.
3. Fill a medium stockpot about 2/3 of the way up. Heat over high temperature until the water is boiling. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl about half way with icy water.
4.  Add the peas to the boiling water and blanch for about 90 seconds. Drain the peas and immediately place them in the icy water to cool.
5.  Place the peas, butter, and seasonings into a large mixing bowl and toss.
6.  Pour the peas into the prepared pie plate. Cover the pie with the remaining sheet of pastry, being sure to cut a hole in the center of the pastry sheet large enough to fit the tip of a funnel.
7.  Bake the pie for about 45 minutes.
8.  Remove pie from oven and, using a funnel, pour the verjuice into the pie and shake the plate so that the fluid is evenly distributed.
9. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 6-8 minutes.
10.  Serve warm.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Flannel Cakes

Flannel Cakes

This recipes is from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this):

Flannel Cakes by Mrs. Morris
2 lbs. of flour, 6 eggs well-beaten, one wine-glass of yeast, a little salt, wet it with milk into a thick batter & set it to rise, bake them on a griddle.



A Bit About Flannel Cakes:
The history of Flannel Cakes is a bit confusing because they have evolved over time. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, flannel cakes are thin griddle cakes first found in the historical record in 1792 by Munchhausen's Trav. xxix. 131: "Ten thousand thousand Naples biscuits, crackers, buns, and *flannel-cakes." 

Here are some additional literary references to Flannel Cakes:
  • 1847: From ‘H. FRANCO’ Trippings Tom Pepper I. 112: "A very delicate species of food, which I tasted then for the first time, called flannel cakes."
  • 1909: From: O. HENRY’s Options: "We..then parted, after Château Margaux, Irish stew, flannel-cakes, [etc.]."

While these references affirm the existence of Flannel Cakes, they offer no description of what they were. Eliza Leslie’s 1828 cookery book, Seventy-Five Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, appears to help define them because she equates them to crumpets:





While this recipe is helpful in defining Flannel Cakes, it is by no means the last word on the recipe, not even for Eliza Leslie, herself. In her 1840 cookery book, Directions for Cookery In All Its Variations, Leslie offers this recipe for Flannel Cakes, which is more like buckwheat cakes than crumpets:



Similarly, many other recipes for Flannel Cakes over the course of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries render them as pancakes, oatcakes, buckwheat cakes, and bannocks. It seems the early ones, such as the one below, use yeast instead of chemical leavening agents such baking powder or soda. It was written at a time when those things were not commonplace which explains the reliance upon yeast. However, modern recipes usually use chemical leavenings instead of yeast. Also, Morris's historic recipe is very particular that the batter be thick, which is also different from many other types of flannel cakes. The only thing that seems to always be a factor in all of these recipes is that they are cooked on the stovetop on a griddle or other type of flat-bottomed pan. Here is my interpretation of Morris's recipe:

Flannel Cakes: Modern Recipe Adaptation

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 Cup Milk (or more, see below)
Directions:

1.  Add the yeast to the water and whisk together. Let this sit for about five minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble.
2. Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
3.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast mixture into it. Add the eggs and the milk. Stir until everything is well-blended, being careful not to stir too much. 
4. Cover and set in a warm place to rise, at least one hour, but the longer the better to allow for flavor development. 

Cook Like Crumpets:
  • Heat a griddle or an electric skillet to 325º F. Grease the skillet with oil or spray oil. Grease crumpet rings, as well, and then arrange them on the surface of the skillet.
  • Spoon 1/4 cup of the batter into each ring or directly into the skillet/griddle. Allow the cakes to cook for about 7 minutes, until they begin to develop holes on their surfaces and firm up. 
  • After the cakes are sufficiently cooked (see picture below), remove the rings and flip. Cook for just 1 minute on the other side to make sure the batter on the tops is cooked thoroughly. 
  • When ready to eat a Flannel Cake made in this way, you can re-heat by toasting.
  • Note: These Flannel Cakes will be denser, more cake-like than a true crumpet. 
Cook Like Pancakes:
  • Use a bit more milk in the batter to thin it out a bit (1/4 - 1/2 cup of milk).
  • Drop about 1/4 cup of batter onto a greased griddle. Allow to cook for just a few minutes, until bubbles just start to form on top. Turn and cook just about 30-45 seconds on second side.
Tastes Great Served With  . . .
  • Butter and nothing else.
  • Butter and Jam
  • Just Jam
  • Butter and Cinnamon-Sugar
  • Butter and Maple Syrup
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Fruit Sauce
  • Caramel
  • You can also top with Ice Cream and/or Whipped Cream!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Steamers: A Washington County, Maryland Sandwich Tradition

Steamer Sandwich

Steamers are sandwiches that hail from the western portion of Maryland, generally in the vicinity of Hagerstown, particularly in Williamsport. These sandwiches are similar to Loose Meat, Sloppy Joe, or Beef Barbecue sandwiches in that the ground beef is cooked until it is smooth and moist. Steamers, in particular, are unique in that they have fewer ingredients than the above and have a distinctly smoother texture. 

These sandwiches are so important to the cultural life of Washington County that a Steamer contest was held at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair for the first time in 2015. According to the Herald Mail Media: 


"The competition was the brain child of Jeff Cline, former Williamsport mayor and current Washington County commissioner. 

'A steamer is more than a sandwich, more than a food group, it’s more than comfort food, it’s part of tradition of many people’s lives,' Cline said.

Cline said when he was a kid, steamers were a special treat. He said his mother would tell him and his siblings that if they took their baths and went to bed, their dad would bring steamers home after working the second shift at Pangborn Corp. When their dad arrived after 11 p.m., his mom called up the stairs and the kids raced down to see dad and eat some steamers."



The Secret to a Great Steamer
The secret is to soak the ground beef in water before cooking until it is as fine as possible. As with any folk tradition, there will debate as the the "only right way" to prepare the recipe. For example, some say the meat should be highly spiced with black pepper and others say the meat should be seasoned very little; some use tomato sauce and others use ketchup; some like it thick so no sauce soaks into the roll and others prefer is saucy; etc., etc. 

To finish preparation of these sandwiches, serve them on buns with cheese, onions, and/or mustard. Note, there is, not surprisingly a debate as to the "right" sort of bun, with potato roll, traditional hamburger bun, or even just white bread being the most popular breads from which to choose and debate about.


The Recipe


This recipe is from A Book of Favorite Recipes by the Residents, Staff, Family and Friends of Coffman Home For the Aging, 1304 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, MD, c. 1981.

My Recipe Directions:
  • Place 1.3 - 1.5 Pounds of Ground Beef in a bowl and cover it with water. Use a wooden spoon to break down the clumps of beef. Let this sit for about 15 minutes, stirring it and breaking down the clumps frequently. Drain very well for at least five minutes to get all of the excess water out.
 The meat falls apart when soaked in water prior to cooking.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and then add the onions, finely diced. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until they are just turning brown. Then, add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the drained beef and stir well. Cook until the meat starts to brown.
  • While the meat is cooking, mix together the tomato sauce with all of the other ingredients.
    • Note: I did not know exactly what "basic sauce" was supposed to mean; I assume it meant Kitchen Bouquet, but I didn't have that so I used BBQ sauce.
    • I found the recommended 1/2 teaspoon of salt not to be enough. Season after to your taste.
  • Add the sauce mixture to the meat and cook on low for a long time, several hours;.
    • Note: You can transfer this to a crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
  • Serve on a bun of your choice with mustard, onions, BBQ sauce, hot sauce (my favorite), or cheese. Note: You can drain off some of the liquid for a less messy eating experience!

References
  • Joe Crocetta, "It's simply steamer-licious," Herald Mail Media, July 29, 2015.
  • Meg Partington, "Steamers ‘synonymous’ with Williamsport," Herald Mail Media, November 12, 2014.
  • Big Daddy's Recipes
  • Washington County Government



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Crab Recipes From a 19th Century Baltimore Manuscript

Crab Frittata with Tomatoes and Eggplant

These crab recipes are from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including these):

Original Recipe: Crab Omelette
Take 6 large crabs, boil & pick them then beet 12 eggs very light and season with pepper, salt, parsley, thyme & mix all together and fry them in butter. Eggplants & Tomatoes can be added when in season. Asparagus cut fine is very good dressed as the crabs.


Crab Omelette/Frittata: Modern Recipe Adaptation
Adapted to Serve 2-4

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Eggplant, Seeds and Skin Removed, diced small
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 4 Ounces Freshly Picked Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat, Picked Clean


Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400º F and prepare a roasting pan by coating it in oil.  Place the chopped tomatoes and diced eggplant in the pan and coat with more oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes, until they are soft and start to caramelize.
2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until light and then add all of the ingredients except the crabmeat. Whisk very well.
3. Heat half the butter in a 10" frying pan, suitable for making omelettes or frittatas. Heat on medium heat to make sure the butter does not burn.
4.  Gently fold the crabmeat into the egg mixture, being careful not break apart the large chunks of crab.
5. Pour half the mixture into the melted butter in the frying pan. Cook on low until the bottom is cooked all the way through. To cook the top, either flip the omelette in the pan, or place the pan under a broiler to cook as you would a frittata. It is done when it puffs up and looks dry to the touch. Careful not to overcook it!
6. Repeat with the second half of the egg mixture.
7. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and serve while hot. Hot sauce tastes really good on this dish!

Original Recipe: Crab Soup
Boil a quart of milk, thicken it with a little flour—piece of butter the size of an egg. Add a little cream boil & pick 8 crabs—put them in, when the milk has come to a boil—stir in the 
cream before you take it off the fire. Nancy Hicks

Cream of Crab Soup

Cream of Crab Soup: Modern Recipe Adaptation
Serves 4-6


Ingredients:
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 4 Cups of Milk
  • 16 Ounces Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
  • 4 Tablespoon Cream
  • Dried Parsley for Garnish

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook until thickened and bubbly; long enough to cook out the flour taste. Gradually add milk and whisk until the mixture is hot, but do not let it boil.
2. Add the crabmeat and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes to allow the soup to thicken and the crab to heat through completely.
3. Top with cream and parsley (and even more crabmeat, if you have it) just before service.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tarte Owt of Lente: A Cheese Tart From the 16th Century

A Tart Owt of Lente: A Cheese Tart From a 16th Century Recipe


This recipe is from an online class by FutureLearn called A History of Royal Food and Feasting and was presented in Week 1 of the course which focuses on the foods eaten by Henry VII and his court at Hampton Court Palace, particularly the foods that may have been served at the christening of King Henry's only son, Edward, on 15 October 1537. Other than wafers, there is no mention of the menu for the Christening. However, it is possible that a cheese tart such as the one described below may have been on the menu for such a momentous and special occasion. It is made with many ingredients that were banned during lent such as cheese, butter, cream and eggs; therefore, it was a bit decadent.


Original Recipe: Tarte Owt of Lente
Gentyll manly Cokere (MS Pepys 1047, c.1500)

Take neshe chese and pare hit and grynd hit yn A morter and breke egges and do ther to and then put yn buttur and creme and mell all well to gethur put not to moche butter ther yn if the chese be fatte make A coffyn of dowe and close hit a bove with dowe and color hit  a bove with the yolkes of eggs and bake hit well and serue hit furth.


Modern Recipe Adaptation 
(partially from  Future Learn's Course entitle A History of Royal Food and Feasting, University of Reading and partly my own)

Ingredients:
  • 100g/3.5 Ounces Cheshire Cheese 
  • 150ml/2/3 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Large  Egg 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Shortcrust or other pastry 
  • Egg yolk to glaze
Directions:
1. Place the cheese in a food processor and pulse until it forms into a paste.
2. Add the cream, butter, egg, and pepper. Continue to pulse until well-blended.
3. Make a pastry tart case, about 25cm (10inches) diameter – you can use a regular-size tart tin if easier – and thin pastry lid.
4. Fill the case with cheese, cream, egg and butter mixture, then put on the pastry lid – seal and glaze with egg yolks.
5. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes or until golden. 


Unbaked Tart Ready For the Oven
Tarte Owt of Lente Slice

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rusks: From From Army/Navy Rations to Baby Food

Rusks

Rusks are made with a low-water content bread-like dough that has been baked into a loaf, sliced up, and then the slices are dried in an oven at low heat. When most Americans think of rusks they probably envision hard bread-like biscuits (zwieback) that are given to babies to gnaw on. However, rusks historically were not meant for teething infants. Their history goes back to the medieval days when they were called panis biscoctus (which actually translate to 'twice-cooked bread') and were made as a bread with a long shelf-life that was perfect for army provisions and ships' rations.

Here is a recipe for Rusks from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!):

Rusks
3 lbs. of flour, 1/2 lb. butter worked in a pint of milk, 1/4 lb. of sugar and a little mace or cinnamon. 2 eggs--tea cup of yeast.

Rusks: Modern Recipe Adaptation
Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Warm Water
  • 24 Ounces All-Purpose Flour (scant 5 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Mace, Nutmeg or Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Ounces (1 Stick) Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Large Egg

Directions:

1.  Place the water in a small bowl and add the yeast. Stir until well-dissolved. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dough to allow the yeast to activate and become frothy. 
2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spice, and salt.
3.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the bits of butter are the evenly distributed and the size of peas.
4.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.
5.  Make a well in the center of the flour /butter mixture and pour the milk/egg mixture  and yeast into it.
6.  Using a fork, work the liquid ingredients into the dry.
7.  Place the dough on a floured board and knead for 10 minutes.
8.  Set the dough in a large, greased bowl and cover. Place it in a warm area and let rise until it doubles in size, for at least 2-3 hours. The longer dough rises, the better it tastes!
9.  After the dough doubles in size, punch it down and then place in a bread loaf pan. Cut a line down the center of the dough. 
10.  Heat the oven to 375º F and let the dough rise again for just about 20 minutes, while the oven is heating.
11.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.
12.  Allow the bread to cool long enough to be able to handle it and slice it neatly. Slice into 12-14 pieces and cut these in half. Place the sliced pieces on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for at least 30 minutes at 325º F, until they are look slightly browned and dried. This cooking time will depend on how thick the slices are cut.