An 1877 cookbook compiled from original recipes teaches that the first step in making delicious bread is the sponge. My earlier article, “My Second Try at Making Bread Sponge,” showed my attempt at sponge.
I also used the second batch of sponge to make muffins. The recipe was based on one submitted by Mrs. Gib Hillock of New Castle, Indiana, for the 1877 book, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping.
Two cups of sponge were combined with one teaspoon of baking powder. I interpreted “a little salt” as a ½ teaspoon of salt.
I separated two eggs. The egg yolks were beaten with a half cup of milk, my interpretation of “one tea-cup of sweet milk or cream.” Butter “half the size of an egg” became two tablespoons of melted butter added to the egg yolk mixture.
The sponge was added to the egg yolk mixture. Egg whites were stirred briskly with a whisk, added to the dough, and then well-beaten.
Mrs. Hillock used gem-pans, which are similar to muffin pans. A simple instruction to bake in a “hot oven” didn’t quite give me a suggested temperature so I baked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
The muffins tasted good and incredibly moist. These muffins tasted best warm from the oven.
I noticed the same texture difference as in the pumpkin bread. Next time I will use half sponge/half dry flour ingredients to see how it affects the texture.
I look forward to our next cooking adventure from the past. Happy cooking!
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 2011.