Food Blog

Design Finds

Cookbook Reviews

Recipe Index


Version 2.0: Milk & Honey Bread

Milk & Honey Bread

Back at the beginning of January, I wrote about my foodie resolution for 2010, to bake more bread. A resolution made with the best of intentions, borne of visions of wholesome, proud loaves emerging from my kitchen one after another. Not to mention the great arms I was going to have (you know, from all the kneading).

However life got in the way, as it tends to, and for several weeks it was farmer’s market loaves and (gulp) grocery store sliced bread for me. After returning to the UK last week, I decided to give bread-baking another go, and I had just the recipe for it. Found in a cookbook (I don’t remember the name) my Mum had from the library, I hastily copied down the ingredients for this Milk & Honey bread in my journal during my last day at home. Something about the description intrigued me: a basic sandwich loaf with a soft texture, shiny crust, and slightly sweet flavour.

Milk & Honey Bread

Unfortunately, the first version of this bread was nothing to write home about. Whether I interpreted my scribbles wrongly or whether the recipe was a dud in the first place I can’t be sure, but the resulting loaf was small and heavy, without the mild but vibrant flavour I’d been promised.

I’m not normally one to try a disappointing recipe twice (I just don’t have the patience for endless experimenting), but for some reason I pressed on with this one. I’m glad I did, because after a bit of tweaking, version 2.0 was everything I’d been looking for. Chewy and sweet but not aggressively so, this bread makes wonderful toast, especially with savoury toppings (I’ve been enjoying this for breakfast, spread with butter and Marmite). Whether or not your own New Year’s resolutions are still going strong (anyone?), I highly recommend giving this one a go.

Milk & Honey Bread

  • Milk & Honey Bread
  • makes 1 loaf
  • 2 cups plain flour (or 1 1/2 cups plain, and 1/2 cup wholewheat)
    3/4 tsp. instant yeast
    pinch salt
    2/3 cups milk
    2 Tbs. honey
    1 Tbs. butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1. Whisk together the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Lightly butter and flour a 1lb loaf tin (not necessary if silicone) and set aside.

    2. Put the milk, honey and butter into a small saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has just melted. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.

    3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball, butter it lightly (I just melt a small piece of butter between my hands and pat the dough all over) and place in a covered bowl. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1-1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

    4. When the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it for a minute or so to get all the air out. Form into an oval about the size of your loaf tin and place inside; cover and leave to rise again for 45 minutes.

    5. Just before your bread is done its second rising, preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Brush a little melted butter over the top of the bread, or melt a bit between your fingers and simply pat it on. Bake bread for 30 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool before slicing.

11 comments

  1. interesting – definitely one I’d like to try, given your description of its taste and texture

    BTW – when you state plain flour, do you mean just that, or plain bread flour?

  2. Ele says:

    aforfulofspaghetti- I use plain flour for most of my breadmaking, mainly because I have a teeny kitchen and even the three types I always keep on hand (white, wholewheat and self-raising) take up quite a bit of room! It would possibly be even better with proper bread flour though!

  3. Hilary says:

    The book was From Earth to Table: http://www.amazon.ca/Earth-Table-Seasonal-Recipes-Organic/dp/0307356841/ref=sr_1_1 ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264608298&sr=8-1

    This recipe caught my eye, too. I will definitely try your version.

  4. Vicki Randle says:

    This recipe sounds good and so simple. Here is a more complicated one that you might like.
    Vicki :o)

    Seven Grain Honey Bread

    1 1/2 cups boiling water
    1 cup seven grain cereal
    1 1/2 tbsp yeast
    pinch sugar
    1/4 cup warm water (105-115F)
    1/4 cup warm buttermilk (105-115F)
    1/3 cup honey
    3 tbsps vegetable oil
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    3 eggs
    1 tbsp salt
    4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached flour

    In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the cereal. Let stand for 1 hour to soften and come to room temperature.
    In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and pinch of sugar over the warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
    In a large bowl, using a whisk, combine the buttermilk, honey, oil, butter, eggs, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Beat hard until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cereal and yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft, sticky dough is formed that just clears the sides of the bowl, switching to a wooden spoon when necessary. This dough may also be mixed in a heavy-duty electric mixer, if desired.
    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured word surface and knead until a soft and springy dough is formed, about 3 minutes, adding 1 tbsp flour at a time as necessary to prevent sticking. The dough will have a nubby and slightly tacky feel. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
    Turn the dough out onto the work surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and form into 9 x 5 inch loaves. Place in greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 30 – 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F.
    Bake in the centre of the oven until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans to cool on racks before slicing.

  5. F. says:

    Last weekend I resolved to start baking my own bread. Maybe I’ll start this weekend with this recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    f.

  6. maya says:

    this sounded so good i actually ran over to the kitchen to start making it right now (after making three exhaustive batches of lemon curd), only to find out i’m out of milk :(

    oh well, will try it tomorrow then

  7. Dana says:

    Good for you! I applaud you not only baking the bread, but also sticking to your resolution. I just picked up Jim Lahey’s new book (he of no-knead bread fame) and plan to finally start making that bread that everyone raves about.

  8. Radhika says:

    Hi Ele, This is my first visit to your blog and you have such a great space here! I really like this recipe for the milk and honey bread, have marked it as a must try!

  9. tiina says:

    Baking more bread is also one of my resolutions for the new year. This recipe sounds absolutely wonderful. Well made bread is the prettiest things, and making the dough is like therapy. Have a great weekend!

  10. Ele says:

    Vicki- Looks good, thanks for that! My goal for this year is to bake one loaf a week, so I’ll definitely give it a try at some point.

    Dana, I liked making No-Knead bread, but I wasn’t wild about it. I found the crust too, er, crusty, and isn’t half the fun in the kneading, anyway?

    tiina- I’m surprised by how many people have told me that this is a resolution of theirs as well- I guess I’m not as crazy as I thought! ;)