Honey-Buttermilk Bread

Honey Buttermilk Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, slightly warmed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 cups flour, separated
  • egg wash (1 beaten egg, with 2 tablespoons water)
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Preparation

Pour the warm water into the bottom of a large bowl, add yeast.  Sprinkle in the sugar to activate the yeast.  Whisk together and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.  At the end of this time you’ll have a frothy liquid, with that wonderful yeasty smell.

When yeast is proofed, add buttermilk, butter and honey.  Whisk these ingredients together briskly.  Add 2 cups of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until they are incorporated.  Add two more cups of the flour, and mix well.  Once the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add one more cup of flour to soak up the remainder of the liquid.

Scatter the remaining 1 cup of flour on your work surface, and place the dough mixture in the middle.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until the ball is flexible, yet silky and smooth.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, I suggest you toast the sesame seeds over medium heat in a small pan.  The nutty flavor of the seeds is heightened greatly when you toast, adding one more level of sensation to this loaf.

Gently punch down the risen dough, and form into round shape for baking.  Gently brush egg wash over the entire surface of the loaf, and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  This will give the loaf a glossy sheen.  I enjoy using plain water for the wash as well, just for something different.  With a sharp knife, cut a cross with two slits, each about 1/4 inch deep.  Allow the loaf to sit for approximately 15 minutes, then place in preheated oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, then allow to cool completely on cooling rack.

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