Rhonda Hair of South Jordan has was the first-place winner in the Sensational Sandwich Bread contest held earlier this month at the Utah State Fair.
Her Autumn harvest smoked salmon sandwich starts with homemade pumpkin bread that’s filled with cream cheese and smoked salmon, and garnished with red onions and red wine vinegar.
Hair, a mother of three who said she loves to bake, received $150 cash. Her recipe will now be entered into a national competition along with 34 other winning recipes from state and county fairs across the country. The winner of that contest receives $1,000 from sponsor Fleischmann’s Yeast.
This was the first year for the fair’s Sensational Sandwich Bread Contest, designed to mark the 250th anniversary of the sandwich’s creation.
Food historians credit John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, for creating this lunch-time staple in 1762. Legend has it that during a gambling streak, Montague asked his cook to prepare a meal that could be eaten without interrupting his games. The cook brought out meat between two slices of toast, which required the use of just one hand and no utensils to eat.
Requests • Reader Jean Herndon is looking for a recipe for the cheese soup that was served at the Hotel Utah. Nancy Davis lost her pasta salad recipe from Fred Wix, the Gabby Gourmet. She’s hoping someone still has a copy and will share.
DeAnn Cleveland is looking for the candy “violets” once carried by ZCMI’s bulk candy department. “They were little lavender-colored, violet-flavored squares cut from a candy dough similar to candy hearts,” she wrote. “They also had the squares in black licorice flavor.” She says they are similar to the Choward’s brand violets.
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Smoked salmon sandwiches on pumpkin-pecan bread
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6 ounces honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted (toast extra for the Filling)
Smoked salmon filling
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons toasted pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
11/2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
1⁄16 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
8 ounces smoked salmon
Red onion, thinly sliced
Roasted red pepper
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the bread, combine yeast and warm water, stir to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes. Mix in honey, pumpkin, cornmeal, egg yolks, milk powder and 2 cups of the flour. Add butter and remaining 2 cups flour, as well as cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes. Knead in pecans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 11/2 to 2 hours.
While dough is rising, combine 1/2 cup cold water and 1-1/4 teaspoon cornstarch in a pan. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Cover so it doesn’t form a skin while cooling.
Divide dough into two pieces. Shape into logs, 16-20-inch long and tie each into a knot. (Or shape into a ball, seam-side down, or into two 8x4 loaves.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 1 to 11/2 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry brush, gently coat each loaf with the water/cornstarch wash. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is firm. Brush again with the glaze. This helps it have a nice shine and a thin, soft crust. Cool before cutting each loaf into 8 slices.
For sandwich filling, stir together cream cheese, red onion, ginger, pecans, celery, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.
To assemble sandwiches, spread about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture on our slices of bread. Top with 2 ounces smoked salmon, and any of the following: thinly sliced red onion, sliced tomato, roasted red pepper, alfalfa sprouts and arugula. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover each with a second slice of bread. cut in half and serve.
Serves • 4 sandwiches
Source: Rhonda Hair, South Jordan, winner of the Fleischmann’s Yeast sandwich contest at the 2012 Utah State Fair.