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Milk and Honey Bread

We do love our bread. This is a softer and sweeter bread than my other recipe.

These directions use a stand mixer, but you can also make this bread without a mixer. Just bring the dough together in a large bowl until it forms a rough ball. Then you will dump the contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then knead for another 5 – 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Then continue with step 6 of the directions for the bread. Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (235 ml) warm milk

  • 1 tablespoon (10 g) granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) active dry yeast

  • 1/3 cup (75 g) melted butter

  • 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup (85 g) honey

  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons oil (I usually use olive oil, but any oil will work)

Directions

  • Heat milk to approximately 100 degrees F. Add the sugar and the yeast to the milk. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
  • While the milk and yeast mixture is sitting. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt. Using the dough hook, mix these together on low speed for 15 seconds (just to get the salt distributed in the flour). Add the honey, egg, melted butter, and the milk and yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Keeping the speed of the mixer low to medium-low, allow all the ingredients to combine until a ball of dough forms and the dough isn’t really sticking to the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and let the mixer knead the dough for about five minutes.
  • Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 5 – 10 minutes. This allows the flour to completely hydrate. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low for another 5 minutes. At this point, the dough should be elastic, but not too sticky. If it doesn’t seem to be elastic enough, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of milk and continue to knead. If it seems too sticky add 1 – 2 tablespoons of flour and continue to knead.
  • After the dough has kneaded in the machine, remove it from the mixer bowl and place it on a lightly floured board (or counter). Knead the dough a few times by hand and form it into a ball. The dough should be smooth and elastic at this point.
  • Pour the oil into the now empty mixer bowl and coat the insides of the bowl with oil. You can oil a clean bowl at this point too, but I never want to dirty two bowls unless I have to :). Place the dough into the oil-coated bowl top side down and then turn the ball of dough right side up so that the whole ball of dough is now oil-coated as well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk (45 minutes to an hour).
  • There are two ways that this loaf can be shaped.

    Shaping Option #1 You are basically making 5 mini loaves that you will put in the loaf pan side by side. It gives a divided effect. Notice the picture. This dough lends itself to this technique because of the egg and butter in the dough.

    Butter or oil a 9 x 5 loaf pan. When the dough has doubled, gently turn it out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured board/counter. Keep the plastic wrap that was covering the bowl. Gently deflate the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 5 inches wide and 25 inches long. With a knife or dough scraper, cut the this rectangle into 5 pieces. Roll each square of dough into a mini loaf that is approximately the width of the loaf pan. Seal the seam of each roll. With the seam side down, place each mini loaf side by side to fill the pan. Gently coax them in. I promise all five sections will fit.
  • Shaping Option #2 Butter or oil a 9 x 5 loaf pan. When the dough has doubled, gently turn it out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured board/counter. Keep the plastic wrap that was covering the bowl. Gently deflate the dough. Using your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle that is about 9 inches by 12 inches with the short side facing you. Starting at the top of the rectangle, fold the dough about two-thirds of the way down the rectangle, then fold the bottom edge up to meet the folded edge at the top. (Think of it as folding a letter into thirds.) Seal the seam by pinching it. Turn the roll of dough so that the seam is in the center of the roll, facing up, and turn up the ends of the roll just enough to fit in the loaf pan. Pinch the end seams to seal, turn the loaf over so that the seams are now on the bottom and plump the loaf with your palms to get an even shape. Gently place the loaf into the buttered/oiled pan with the seams down.
  • Loosely cover the loaf pan with the plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise again at room temperature until it just begins to come above the top of the loaf pan, 30 – 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
  • Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown. If you want to check to be sure it’s done, plunge an instant-read thermometer in the bottom center of the loaf (turn the loaf out of the pan first) and it should read 200 degrees. Let the bread cool on a rack before slicing and serving.

 

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