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.