Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The best bread - Honey Saffron Loaf

I noticed this bread on Nic's blog Bakingsheet a while ago, and I immediately put it on my long "to-try list". As I wrote, I had Thanksgiving dinner for my family on Sunday, Nov. 27. This also coincided with the Swedish occasion "Första Advent". (First Sunday of Advent - followed by second, third and fourth, and then finally christmas.) It's very traditional to get together for that and drink glögg (warmed spiced wine with almonds and raisins) and eat "Lussekatter", saffron buns. You can read more about this at A Cat in the Kitchen who had a far more traditional Advent than I did. Anyway.

I decided to skip stuffing this year - it wasn't a huge hit last year, and frankly, I don't really "get it". So, I decided to make another bread instead. This was my choice - the saffron made it very season-perfect in my eyes, and it sounded easy and fast. And boy, am I glad I made it! It was definitely the biggest hit on the table (everyone - and I do mean everyone - wanted the recipe.) - and I loved it. So much I'll be making another loaf today. It's incredibly tasty, moist and fluffy with a chewy crust, and perfect eat both with food and as it is, for breakfast. I especially liked it toasted with a thick slice of sharp English cheddar. Yum!

I'll re-publish the recipe here for my own convenience - I don't ever want to lose track of it. It's that good. And I'm dying to try more of Hollywood's recipes! I've changed the measurements into what we use in Sweden, and I used a bit less honey than in the original recipe since my honey jar was pretty solid. I dug out about three large tablespoons full, and that seemed to do the trick. Runny honey is of course easier to measure properly.

Honey Saffron Loaf
makes 1 loaf
adapted from 100 great breads by Paul Hollywood

3,75 - 5 dl regular white flour
3,75 dl whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast
3,75 dl warm water, divided
1 tbsp salt
0,8 dl honey, or about 3-4 large tablespoons
0,5 g saffron (1 packet)

In a large bowl, combine 2,5 dl whole wheat flour, 1,8 dl bread flour, all the yeast and 3,1 dl of water. Stir well and let stand, covered, for 4 hours.

Warm remaining 0.65 dl water and dissolve the saffron in it. Add to flour mixture, along with remaining whole wheat flour, salt and honey. Gradually add the remaining bread flour, mixing until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn bread out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, 4-5 minutes. Add more flour as you need it, it shouldn't be too sticky. Place bread in a clean bowl to rise, covered, for an additional 30 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200°C.

Slash loaf with a sharp blade and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the loaf is a dark gold and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool completely before slicing. I actually made the bread the day before serving, keeping it wrapped in plastic overnight and then giving it another short burst in the hot oven to help crisp up the crust. Worked perfectly.


Dagmar said...


This bread looks beautiful. I will put it on my "to do" list, especially as Fredrik really loves saffron.

Kimbie said...

I've just starting making bread, this looks yummy! Just one question - what is a dl?

I love reading your blog, btw.

Lotta said...

Just one question, is that "torrjäst" or the regular "jäst", the cubes you get from the dairy shelves?

I'll definitely try it out it sounds delicious

Anne said...

Dagmar - then he'll love this for sure!! :)

Kimbie - a dl is a deciliter, 1/10th of a liter. If you follow the link near the top of the post, you'll find the recipe in cups measurements. One dl is equivalent to 0.4 cups.

Lotta - dry yeast is torrjäst, yep! Fresh yeast, on the other hand, is the name for the cubes :)

Nic said...

I'm glad that you (and everyone else!) liked the bread. It's one of my favorites, too! Did you see that Paul Hollywood left a comment on that post at my site? Talk about thrilling!

Anne said...

Nic - I did see that! So incredibly cool! :) Have you tried more of his breads? I'm dying to.

confused said...

I found the recipe on the UK TV site as well, and there it stated:

250g strong white flour
250g wholemeal flour / rye
30g Yeast
150ml hand-hot water!!
1 tbsp Salt
75ml Honey
0.25 tsp saffron strands

But both you and Nic say 375 ml water instead of 150, what should it be? Thanx

Anne said...

How confusing! Well, I went by Nic's and used 375 ml. The measurements I've given are the ones which worked for me! :)

manxman said...

ihave paul hollywoods book so can tell you he says 300 cc of water not 150 hope this helps your bread looks great well done

Lori said...

That bread looks as good as you describe it, Anne! :)

Gonzalita said...

Sounds and looks delicious!
Will most def make it this weekend and also for Christmas with my Big Fat Latinofamilia.

Karin said...

I've been looking at this bread for a really long time and finally came around to do it today. Was a bit nervous about the dry yeast since I live in Israel and my hebrew is not very good yet, did not really get the instructions on the sachet! Anyway, the bread turned out wonderful, will definitely do it again!