I’m a baker, as you may know. That means I’m picky about my baked goods. I won’t complain but I won’t rave about something unless I truly think it’s exceptional.
You should make this bread. I like bread. I like fresh bread but I’m not gaga over bread. In a restaurant, I’ll avoid it unless I know it’s particularly good. Focaccia at The Farm in Brooklyn. Sweet potato bread at Spring Street Natural in Manhattan. Cake from Baked in Red Hook. I have a short list. This bread is on that list. It tempts everyone. Fresh out of the oven it is worthy of murmurs and sweet nothings. A little butter, a little honey, a cup of tea – heaven.
Tender buttermilk white bread with the delicate flavor of honey. The stronger the honey the better the flavor so use pure raw honey, buckwheat or other strong flavor.
2 hr, 30Prep Time
30 minCook Time
3 hrTotal Time
- 1 envelope yeast (I usually use 1 tablespoon because I buy in bulk.)
- Pinch of powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water (105F)
- 2 cups warm buttermilk (105F)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 cups white bread flour, divided use
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled so that it is warm to the touch but not hot.
- In a medium sized bowl mix the yeast, ginger, sugar, and warm water.
- Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Whisk the buttermilk, honey, salt, and baking soda together and add it to the yeast mixture.
- Add three cups of flour and mix until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes on low of a stand mixer.
- Pour in the butter until it is totally mixed into the batter.
- Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, keeping mixer on low speed.
- When dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a lightly floured surface. Knead until elastic and smooth.
- You can also knead in your mixer according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Place in greased bowl, turn to grease the top, and cover with a clean tea towel.
- Allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until double.
- Punch down and form into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and grease tops.
- Cover, and allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until it is just about the tops of the bread pans.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Bake for 30 minutes. You can cover the tops with foil if they brown too fast.
- Remove loaves from oven and brush with melted butter.
- Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes.
- Gently run a knife around the edge between the bread and the pan to loosen it.
- Turn out and cool completely on a rack.
- Cover the loaves if you want soft crusts.
I use a mixer with a dough hook because it’s easy and it is. The first thing I do is take out the buttermilk and leave 2 cups at room temp for 30 mins or so. I melt the butter and do the same. Then I start in with the yeast/sugar/ginger/warm water. I add the honey, salt, baking soda straight to the warm buttermilk, stir with a small whisk, pour it into the foamy yeast (I said “foamy yeast”), and proceed. I always rub butter on the top as they’re steaming hot from the oven.
I was bread-shy before this recipe. I thought I couldn’t do it. I was wrong. Don’t hang back. It’s heavy, tender, moist, cakey, and it toasts very well.
I bake two loaves, we eat one that I wrap in foil and keep on the counter until it’s gone. The other, I slice and freeze in a freezer bag, and use for toast in the mornings. Delicious.
I bake it at 400F for exactly 27 minutes. 25 is too wet, 30 is too dry. That’s a baker for you. Enjoy!