Oh Honey Bread

Bread baking was one of my first hobbies.  I loved being in our big kitchen on the farm.  It was a kitchen my grandmother had saved for and renovated in the 50's.  The farmhouse itself was built in the 1800's, with the original kitchen being in the back of the home.  As it grew, the white metal cabinets of the 50's sat along side the hand built wood cabinets and the old clawfoot tub that had been in that same kitchen for generations. 

As a young teen I wanted to bake and in this kitchen was a Hoosier Cabinet with a flour sifter that I loved to "play" with.  All of the baking ingredients we needed were in that cabinet and the cold storage box under the big window, a favorite sitting place for all of us.  We could sit and watch the grown-ups cook, laugh, and work together while gazing out across the orchard.  

In that old kitchen was a three gallon metal bucket with a turned handle dough kneading hook.  It looked like a well loved piece, with bots of dark patina over the aged silver.  It must have been the first "automatic" bread maker.  I would turn the crank with no dough inside just to watch the hook twirl and spin, but when the Honey Dough was in there, the fun doubled.

I'm not sure where this recipe came from because we have used it since I was little.  Lots of good flour, butter and honey, and a little patience make for the best white bread loaf you will ever taste.  The dough looks like a work of art.  It is so spongy and golden from the color of honey.  Time letting it rise three times makes the bread extra light and soft.  Good quality flour, sifted makes the bread sliceable for sandwiches or a soft slab of hot butter.

Honey Bread

3 Cups Warm Water
3 Tablespoons Honey
2.5 Tablespoons of Active Dry Yeast

1. Mix the water, honey and yeast in a large room temperature bowl.  Cover and set aside until it activates and is foamy.

2 Tablespoon of Grey Salt
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
4 Cups of Sifted Unbleached Flour

2.  Add the Salt, Butter, Honey and Flour to the yeast mixture.  Mix with a dough hook or wooden spoon.  The dough will be soft sticky.  Incorporate all the flour in together and pull into a sticky ball.  Cover and let rise for one hour.

2 1/2 Cups of Sifted Unbleached Flour

3.  Punch down the sticky dough and pull away from sides with a dough hook.  Add the flour extra flour one half cup at a time until the dough becomes soft and can be formed into a ball.  Keep the dough barely sticky and soft.  

3.  Add dough to a mixer to knead for 5 minutes or knead by hand on an oiled surface for ten minutes.

4.  Place dough back into bowl and let rise for another hour.

5.  Softly punch down and separate into two or three loaves.  Form dough into a loaf form.  Lightly drop dough once on the counter to remove air pockets.  

6.  Place dough in a oiled bread pan and let rise a half hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minuets or until golden on top.

7.  Remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack.  

8.  Brush with melted butter and honey.  Let cool if you have the patience.  If not. lightly slice and serve with soft butter.

If you have baked this recipe and love it as much as I do, take a picture and tag me on Instagram @tweetledeedesignco.  I would love to see pictures of you making and sharing your bread with your family and friends.  There is something so "sweet" and simple about a loaf of homemade bread.  It is healing to make, eat and share.  

Sending love and hope for a joyful day!  xo

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