This is a bread I came across on the net during one of many searches for something food related, I forget exactly what now, and had marked as a bread I had to bake. Buttercrust bread is just that, mildly sweet sandwich bread with a buttery crust that is soft and just dense enough to hold up to slicing. Typically, it has a long slash down the middle of the length of the loaf into which melted butter is poured just before baking it. This gives this bread its distinctive golden “buttercrust.
Some people seem to refer to this as “Buttertop Bread”, though from what I’ve seen (I’m no expert here) Buttertop Bread doesn’t seem to have that distinctive slash on the top and is just a bread where the top is of the dough is brushed with butter before baking. The Buttercrust Bread seems to have a nostalgic connection for many Americans and was a highly popular variety of sandwich bread baked in small town American bakeries, especially in San Antonio, Texas. A classic sandwich loaf, the Buttercrust Bread is good for sandwiches and toast, and left overs can be converted to croutons, French toast or bread pudding.
The internet seems to be a bit limited about information on this bread, but what I did manage to gather about its history it seems to have come into existence sometime around 1880. Apparently, in 1879, a man called William Louis Richter came to San Antonio in the US and joined the Menger Hotel there as a pastry chef. He later got married and with a loan from his father-in-law, he and his wife opened their own bakery and he is credited with the invention of the Buttercrust Bread. In 1912, Richter registered the bread under the Butter Krust brand name.
Though it seems they may be so, I’m really not sure if the Buttercrust, Buttertop and Butter Krust breads are the same or entirely different from one another. I came across recipes for Buttercrust Bread that asked the bread to be brushed with melted butter after baking and as soon as the bread came out of the oven. Others don’t mention anything about slashing the top. Yet others like the Virginia Bakery Remembered by Tom Thie and Cynthia Beischel asks one to “cut the top of the loaf with 5 snips of the scissors and liberally wash with butter to suit your taste”! This one suggested scoring the dough and pouring melted butter into it and then baking it, which I went with as it was something new for me.
Easy Buttercrust Sandwich Bread
- 1/2 cup milk
- 30 gm butter , cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp yeast dried active (or 3/4 tsp instant )
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water warm
- 15 gm butter (melted)
- Warm the milk and butter in a saucepan, stirring until the butter melts. Keep aside to cool. If using active dry yeast, proof the yeast by mixing it with 1/4 cup of the warm water and sugar and leave for about 5 to 10 minutes till frothy and then add to the flour. If using instant yeast just add that and the sugar to the flour in the bowl directly.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of your machine, put the flour and the yeast mixture (or instant yeast and sugar), salt and the butter-milk mixture. Mix well and then add as much of the warm water as necessary to knead well. Tip the dough onto a flour dusted counter and knead a little more by hand till soft, smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning it to coat well. Cover loosely and let it rise till double, about 2 hours.
- Deflate the dough and then roll it into a rectangle about 14" x 7". Roll the dough tightly, from the shorter side and pinch the edge and the ends of the roll well to seal. Place the roll into a well-greased 8" x 4" sandwich loaf tin. Cover loosely and let it rise till almost double, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- With a very sharp blade or knife, make a 1/4" slash the top of the risen dough lengthwise in the middle from end to end. Pour the melted butter into the slash. It doesnu2019t matter if it overflows a bit.
- Bake it in a 200C (400F) oven for about 25 to 30 minutes till golden brown on top and it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the loaf tin and cool completely before slicing.