Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baps: The Breakfast Bread of Scotland

In a recent post on Serious Eats, Ed Levine took one for the team and found us a collection of great sandwiches to be found in Manhattan. Even though I am far from that city, I read Ed's posts (and devour his pictures) with glee. One of his sandwiches was served on a bap, which he'd not heard of before.

Being the seriously geeked-out food-trivia maven that I am, I immediately leapt in to let him know that baps are a type of Scottish roll, traditionally eaten at breakfast (you can eat them at lunch and dinner too - they make nice sandwiches after all).

Elizabeth David's extensive volume English Bread and Yeast Cookery provides a quick discussion of baps. The traditional bap is just a yeasted roll: very plain and simple. Baps can be enhanced with potato, onion and/or herbs to liven them up. The addition of potato is a helpful one in that it keeps breads fresh-tasting.

Today I made a batch of traditional baps. The dough is not kneaded, it's just stirred together and left to rise. This dough makes a dense, finely textured bread. The crumb will be a little moist. It reminded me a little of a bagel, without as much chewiness. All the recipes I read recommended that baps be eaten right after baking. "Older" ones should be heated or toasted to refresh them.

Here's a basic recipe for baps from David's book. I strongly recommend you add this volume to your bread baking collection. It's full of great stories and anecdotes, not to mention a thorough discussion of breads (quick and yeasted) . She also provides a lot of detailed information on bread ovens, baking equipment, yeasts and flours. Sure, you've heard of scones, crumpets and muffins, but what about manchets, barmbracks or coburgs?

Basic Baps
Makes 8-10 baps
  • 2/3 cup water, warm
  • 2/3 cup milk, warm
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • extra milk for brushing the bread
  • flour for dusting
Mix together water, milk and yeast.

Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the liquids. Stir until the dough until it is well mixed. If the dough is too stiff, add extra milk to loosen it up (it should be doughy, but not solid). Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. It will not double in size.

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Dump the dough onto a floured counter and the cut it into 8 to 10 equal pieces. Form them into an oval, flattish roll. Place them on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let them rest for 30 minutes.

Brush each bap with milk and then dust them with flour. Poke your thumb into the center of each bap to make an indentation. Bake them for about 15 minutes, until light gold (they will stay fairly pale).


Tina said...

It was nice meeting you, too! You have so many wonderful recipes on your site! I love it! :)

Sunday Cook said...

Thanks! Gotta a lot of posting to do after last night. :-)

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