Being on a diet is hard. Obvious reasons aside, it is hard because I need to cook. It is my creative outlet, and I feel hollow when I don’t do it for a while. Four days is a while, I guess. But I figured, why should Mr. S have to suffer because I am on a cleanse? So I baked this gorgeous fluffy bread.
We came up with this idea to bake a new kind of bread once a week, so this is our first installment. This Milk and Honey Bread is soft and sweet, and so incredibly easy to bake, with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. It’s perfect for sandwiches, or jam, or fried eggs, or grilled cheese, or honey butter, or… Can you tell I’m hungry? I think I am going to have to sneak a piece of this amazing bread!
MILK AND HONEY BREAD
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 tbs (or 1 packet) of active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups flour (white)
- egg wash (1 beaten egg with a little milk)
- Suggested music: Jackson C. Frank “Milk and Honey”
Heat your oven on its absolute lowest setting. Like the plate warmer setting. In a metal bowl or small pot, heat your milk, and 1 tbs of the honey, until it is pleasantly warm to the touch- warmer than lukewarm, but not hot enough to drink. Remove it from the heat and stir in your yeastie babies. Let them have a party for about five minutes or so, until they are all foamy and having a ball. As I said in my last post, if your yeasties don’t proof (bubble) properly, then they are already dead, and you’ll have to repeat the process with a new yeast packet.
Next, pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the honey, oil, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add your flour, one cup at a time, stirring until it is all incorporated, and difficult to stir. The dough should still be sticky now, so I don’t knead it with my hands yet, I let the strong spoon do the work. Turn off your oven, cover the bowl with a slightly damp cloth, and put it in the oven to rise.
Let it rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. Since it is winter, it is too cold for it to rise without being in the toasty oven. Once it is risen, punch down the dough and on a clean floured surface, knead your dough. It will be sticky at first, but just keep sprinkling flour on the surface and on top of the dough as you knead. Only add as much as you need for kneading (hahaha), you don’t want it to get too dry.
Knead the dough until it sort of springs back at you when you poke it (about 5-10 minutes). I do have a dough hook, but I honestly don’t recommend them much. Whatever work you save in kneading will be recreated in cleaning the friggin’ hook. It is harder to control, and not worth it. Unless you have Carpel Tunnel or something, and just cannot knead.
Shape the dough into a nice little loaf, and put into a small well greased loaf pan. Brush oil on the top of the dough, and put it back into the still slightly warm oven to rise again (just don’t turn it on). You can let it rise for 30-60 minutes. I go for 60, so that the bread really doubles in size. Plus we have to let our little yeastie friends enjoy themselves as much as possible before we murder their asses.
Once the dough has again doubled in size, remove your pan from the oven, and heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and loosen the sides of the pan with a butter knife. Using a hot pad, hold the bread in one hand, and thump the bottom with the other, thusly. This shall be henceforth be referred to as the Thump Method. If you hear a nice hollow, drum-like sound, the bread is done.
Put the bread back in the pan, and brush the top generously with egg wash. And now you can have scrambled eggs! Anyway, put your bread back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Then remove it from the oven, and pan, and cool on a wire rack.
And there you have it. The best white bread in the world!