“…[Once] a maiden girl could walk the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast.”

Bread & Salt - the perfect Game of Thrones party food!

 Thoughts:

Bread and Salt are a staple of Westerosi culture and courtesy. They are the physical manifestation of the guest-right tradition, whereby anyone who receives such in a castle, inn, or home cannot be harmed while under that roof.

My version is loosely based on a traditional Russian bread. The salt is poured directly into the hollow of the bread, and each guest may  tear off a piece of bread and dip it into the salt. The bread is like Easter bread (bring it to family gatherings!) in flavor and texture, but the taste with the salt is reminiscent of soft pretzels.

The inspiration credit for this goes to reader and commenter Random.

NB: Any spoilers related to this post will be deleted.

Bread and Salt Recipe

makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs, 2 left whole for baking into the dough
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glaze

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the milk. Remove from heat before it becomes hotter than warm; if too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture while stirring. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup more flour and beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Lightly grease a large bowl, put the dough in, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each of the pieces into long rolls about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the three long pieces of dough, form a loose braid. Divide this braid in half, then form each half into a round, sealing the ends together and tucking them under.

Cover your two whole eggs with butter or oil, then slip them carefully into the middle of each loaf. They should be tucked in about halfway. These whole raw eggs bake in the oven right along with the bread.

Place loaves on a greased baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush risen loaves with beaten eggs, and bake in for 45 to 55 minutes, or until dark golden.

Once the loaves have cooled somewhat, you can pull the egg out of the middle and fill the remaining divot with 1-2 Tbs. salt.  The whole eggs will be somewhere between soft and hard boiled, and delicious with the freshly baked bread!

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34 Responses to Bread and Salt

  1. deb says:

    So, we finally got the oven working again, I think I have to make this to chrisen it, looks delicious.

  2. Taly says:

    Oooh, this is so happening for the premiere night of season 2! Thanks for sharing, its looks beautiful!

  3. Samantha says:

    Mmmm this looks so delicious! I was thinking of what I thought it would taste like, but didn’t even realize what I was thinking of was a soft pretzel… yum that sounds so good, and made in this way, it’s so… stylish and fun, like all of the food you guys make. Awesome, I think I’m actually going to try making this one! I was so confused for a minute, I feel kinda stupid admitting it, but– the whole eggs, you mean uncracked, and they are like a placeholder, right? so there’s a place for the salt when the dough is done baking? I didn’t realize at first, I thought you meant to bake an egg in the middle of the bread dough! lol.

    • duckchick says:

      Actually, I think they DO mean bake the egg in the middle of the bread. it makes the indentation for the salt.

  4. Susan says:

    Gorgeous bread! Looks like Challah to me …

  5. Jaycey says:

    This sound amazing but I’m a little confused about the eggs at the end why do you put them inside the loafs?

    • TSR says:

      They’re easter loaves, and are meant to hold a painted egg in the middle. This way, as the dough bakes around a whole egg, you end up with a perfectly formed indentation, in this case used for salt. The butter/oil is there to stop the dough from sticking to the egg.

      • Jaycey says:

        ahh ok i misunderstood what it meant by putting the eggs in the loafs then Im definitely going to have to give this a try though sounds great

  6. Melissa says:

    What kind of salt should I use? Regular table salt or maybe a coarse grain salt?

    • Needs Mead says:

      We used kosher salt, which is on the large coarse side. You can also consider adding in some specialty salts for color or flavor; on Sunday, we might try some applewood smoked salt… :)

  7. Shobbs says:

    I am absolutely floored by how you can take the most simple things and turn them into such works of art, it’s incredible.

  8. Jamie B says:

    I LAUGHED like crazy at your “spoilers will be deleted” note. :D Just thought it was funny. :)

    This bread seems very similar (if not identical) to Challah. Doubly appropriate then, that we’re so close to Passover. :) I am going to make a different kind of bread for my premiere party, because I feel like eggs would be too precious in Westeros for any but the most wealthy to have such an eggy bread. Not that I’m criticizing – Challah-type breads are excellent with salt so it was a perfect choice for this post. :)

    • Jamie B says:

      I feel like I should mention to anybody reading that this is quite a huge loaf of bread. Unless you’ve got an industrial mixer, this is WAY too big for it. (It’s easily twice the size of my challah recipe, which I have to cut in half for my mixer to be able to handle it.)

    • Prefiera says:

      Eggs would probably be the easiest to obtain protein source. Chickens are the most efficient converters of feed. Let them roam, hunt, and peck and given them at least a bit of feed and they cheerfully produce eggs. It is actually quite easy!

  9. Trinity says:

    I crave a salt bagel now!!! :)

  10. Michelle says:

    This is a great recipe. I’ve made two batches of this in a week!
    I don’t know if my oven is too hot, but my first batch got overly done in 45 min and I just pulled out a second batch after 35 min and it seems completely done. I’m splitting it into two loaves like the directions, and both of them are good sized.
    With the first batch I made this weekend I filled with basil chèvre and it was amazing! For breakfast the next morning, I filled the center of the other one with cinnamon butter…oh baby that was decadent.
    I made this recipe in my kitchen aid mixer and it works great, though not very Westerosi :) I think I’m going to adopt the “bake something in the middle of a loaf of bread and fill it” idea with other, less sweet breads, but this recipe is a keeper.
    Thanks ladies, can’t wait for the cookbook!

  11. Babette says:

    Making this bread right now for the evening’s meal accompanied by your dried cherry ham, I can’t wait until the cookbook comes out.

  12. aly3360 says:

    Can’t wait to try this one out. Sure hope there is a second book someday with all the “coming soon” recipes

  13. D says:

    Just think of the compitions you can have at work…..”bring your favorite Game of Thrones dish to work to share”. I think I’ll implement that next month. Thanks for the idea.

  14. Rih says:

    I don’t have time before my Game of Thrones party to make this bread straight through. Is there any part I can refrigerate over night so that it can be fresh when guests arrive?

    • Chelsea M-C says:

      Definitely! You should be able to make the dough ahead of time, braid it, put the egg in, and let it slowly rise in the fridge overnight. Take it out about an hour before baking the next day, and continue as per instructions. :)

  15. DJ SweetMarie says:

    Bread and salt isn’t just Russian, BTW — lots of European nations and some Eurasian ones have the same tradition. Lithuanians make this bread without the in-shell eggs, Greeks use eggs dyed red for Easter. I like this without the eggs in shell but with sesame seeds sprinkled over the egg wash. BTW, given all the folks out there taking high blood pressure medicine, going easy on the salt would be a good idea, too; there’s a reason folks died a lot younger during the middle ages, and diet is part of it. Instead of pouring a huge pile of salt in the middle, try a small (one-egg-yolk sized) dish of flavored sea salt to accompany a good sweet butter or dipping oil. Not as pretty a picture, but a better idea.

    • Miss Grimke says:

      I made this recipe without using a mixer (and I am not big on self-sacrifice) and had no problem whatsoever. It turned out great–two loaves–for my GoT party. However, it is sweeter than I would like and I think I’ll do it again for the Season 3 finale without sugar, or maybe just a tablespoon, adding flour (or cornmeal?) to make up the bulk. I wonder if that will cause problems.

  16. Reg-o-rama says:

    I have never made yeasted bread before, so I was excited and a little apprehensive. I made these for the Finale of Season 3—they were amazing. Seriously simple and delicious. I’ve been bitten by the bug and want to make them again!! (I overcooked them a bit, or cooked them too close to the burner, and they rose a bit more than I expected, to envelope the egg, so we had to use a shot glass for the salt, but no one else complained :)

  17. Lizzy says:

    Love this bread! I’ve made it about half a dozen times and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Rather than braid it and then form it into a round, I use a four strand round challah braid that always turns out super cute. I do have a few notes though. 1, I always need to add at least 1/3-1/2 cup more flour to get the dough to pull together. Maybe I’m using enormous eggs, but if I follow the recipe exactly the dough is too sticky to handle. 2, It has never taken the full 45 minutes to bake, more like 30. This could of course be the result of the added flour, but do keep an eye on it as it bakes so you don’t wind up with charcoal.

  18. samfig1 says:

    My loaves were absolutely MONSTROUS. I mean, I’m not complaining. Why complain? Your recipe gave me hella bread.

    Alas, I am one person. And I have too much bread for my face:(

  19. Made this tonight & it was amazing. Going to try it for our company in the next week. I had already 1/2ed the recipe and it was still huge! (I have a tiny european oven) so I have plans for take 2. Planning on taking the 1/2 recipe and making 3 tiny breads with the egg (hoping for soft boiled) and serving them for breakfast with the salt on the side. I will probably include the salt on top stuck to the wash.
    Also, for you nervous nellies (like me!) I proofed the yeast in the milk & butter rather than mixing it with the flour. Glad I did since the first attempt was a dud!

  20. Alyssa says:

    I make this recipe all the time for my fellow cast and crew members at the theatre I work at. It is the highlight of every tech week (known in the business as “hell week”) when I come in with a loaf for each cast member to snack on throughout those intense 8hr rehearsals!

    The recipe makes two huge loafs, but instead I use one batch to make four smaller loafs (mostly to save time and money). Still, this is my favorite recipe for all occasions!

  21. Sarah Rowlett says:

    I made this last night and it was amazing. Instead of salt I used homemade pesto in the middle (not everyone loves salt as much as I do). The bread came out looking beautiful and was deliciously chewy. I will make this again and again, it’s a wonderful addition to my recipe book. Thank you!

  22. Michelle says:

    I wanted to pop in and say that I’ve made this frequently over the past 2 years, and it’s been a big hit. (except once in my 4am delirium, I mixed my sugar bowl and my salt bowl up…didn’t need more salt after that!)
    One time, for some reason, my egg caused the center to kind of burn to the bottom of my baking stone, but the rest of the loaf was fine. It wouldn’t hold salt since it part of it stuck to the pan. Of course, I was bringing this batch of bread to a big, fancy potluck for my church, and I was baking at the last minute and didn’t have time to re-do it. I ended up cutting out the bottom center and fitting it over a short candlestick holder and put in white tapers. I ended up with beautiful, edible centerpieces!

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