Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Milk and Honey Bread (with Saffron)

For no good reason, the words "milk and honey" were bouncing around in my head when I was thinking about a new bread. I didn't want a sweet bread, though. I wanted something that would be savory and interesting, but also useful for sandwiches.

In particular, I wanted something that would complement a tomato and mayo sandwich.

I nixed the idea of making anything with oregano or basil after a brief consideration, even though both would pair nicely with tomato. I settled on saffron. It has warm, luxurious flavor, and it adds beautiful color. A little saffron goes a long way - the flavor should tease your senses rather than sledgehammer them into oblivion.

The resulting bread is soft, but not in that annoying gummy squishy way. As for the flavor, even though I knew what was in it, my first thought was how buttery is was. The bread is a pale yellow; not enough that it seems artificial, but just enough to hint at specialness.

This is great buttered, toasted, as part of a sandwich, or just plain. It's that good.

Milk and Honey Bread (with Saffron)

1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch of saffron
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Pour the hot milk into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the honey and saffron and stir to melt the honey into the milk. Let cool to room temperature.

Add the yeast, stir to combine, and let sit until it is frothy, about 10 minutes.

Add the bread flour and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Add the salt and olive oil and continue kneading until the oil is incorporated and the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, another minute or two.

Form the dough into a ball and drizzle some olive oil over it to coat it. Return it to the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

When the dough has doubled in size, take the dough out of the bowl and, without deflating it completely, form it into a tight, round ball.

Place the ball seam-side down on the prepared sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled, about 30 minutes.

When the dough has doubled, slash it as desired and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This appeared on Serious Eats and has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a stupid question, but being the bread-making novice I am I have to ask. Can you make this without an electric mixer?

Madame Fromage said...

Oh, beauty! So lovely. A perfect bread for the Equinox.

Donna Currie said...

Hi Anonymous!

You can make almost any of my bread recipes by hand, or with a food processor, or with a mixer. You just have to knead until the dough has the right consistency. If you look at the BOTD tab up at the top, there's a section about the different methods.

cedarglen said...

This is a great, new invention and worthy of a try. Good bread(s) do not get any easier - even if the milk must be scalded ( I'l buy it, thanks, Donna.)

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