Honey Bread

Each new ingredient added to the basic mixture of flour, yeast and water will affect the bread’s texture as well as its flavour. Honey used in any quantity instead of sugar, for instance, tends to give a softer dough so a little more flour is needed to compensate. This recipe is basically a brioche but the substitution of honey for sugar changes its taste significantly. We serve it, toasted, with chicken liver or foie gras pâté. Made with sugar rather than honey, it makes the world’s finest french toast if dipped in cream and beaten egg, then fried.

Ingredients

  • 110ml (4fl oz/½ cup) milk
  • 90g (oz/¼ cup) honey
  • 20g (¾ oz) fresh yeast (¾ × 1 oz cake)
  • 90g (oz/7 tablespoons) softened butter
  • 4 medium eggs (4 large eggs)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 600g (1 lb 5 oz) strong white flour (4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour)

Method

Heat the milk to lukewarm and combine it with the honey. Crumble the yeast into the mixture and leave it to froth up.

Ensure the butter is thoroughly softened, then beat in the eggs and salt. Stir the resulting mixture into the yeasty milk.

Mix in the flour to form a soft dough. Knead it well for a few minutes so that it becomes shiny and smooth.

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and leave somewhere warm to prove – the customary doubling in bulk is what’s needed.

Knock back the risen dough by kneading once or twice. Dust with flour so that it handles more easily, then place the dough in a 1 kg (2 lb 4oz) loaf tin for its second proving.

Heat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). When the loaf has proved, bake for 45 minutes. Turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.

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