08 October 2011

Lazy Day Bread - Beth Hensperger's Honey and Seed Bread

Sometimes, the Earth and the kitchen gods are in perfect sync ... sometimes, the cook's attention to task and the time of day allow for a calm and focused approach to the task. Yesterday, it was a calm cool day in the grey cottage. I had no specific goals for the day, so I found myself puttering at cleaning some shelves in the kitchen, playing with the kitten, doing a bit of sewing, and hanging laundry on a warm porch. A trashy magazine came in the mail - the stuff of tabloids - just the brain candy we love over a cold drink with feet propped up. What does one do when one is waiting for shelves and laundry to dry, while kitten snoozes on the rocking chair, when the tabloid has been perused and plopped aside, when Silent Bob is out in the woods with power tools and the house is quiet? 

... egg glaze makes for a perfect shiny crust

I made bread. You've heard me rave about The Bread Bible ... this is another of Beth Hensperger's stellar recipes. The dough is an easy milk, honey, yeast and water foam, and bread flour concoction with your choice of seeds. I chose flaxseed, poppyseed, and sesame seed for a pretty dough and a bit of crunch. The dough has a good amount of salt and if I were really confident of my bread baking skills, I would reduce the salt abit, but I wonder, does salt have a special function in bread baking? I think I heard someplace that it serves to make for a tender bread ... hmmm. Wive's tale? Don't know. All I DO know is that this morning, we had toast with butter and jam that was out of this freakin' world!

... semi-firm loaf with nice little airpockets

So what does that drivel at the beginning of the post have to do with making bread? I guess it shows you what I did while the bread dough rose ... yup, I think the yeast worked harder than I did yesterday. Sigh. Anyone think Ashton Kutcher needs a lobotomy or that the tabloids should just leave that poor Kate and Wills alone or that Beyonce will make a pretty little mama? Yup, me too.

... a big braided loaf and a smaller conventional

Honey and Seed Bread
a Beth Hensperger recipe


¾ c. warm water (105 to 115°F)
1½ tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1½ c. warm milk (105°to 115°F)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. honey
5 ½ to 6 c. bread flour or all-purpose unbleached white
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. raw millet ( I substituted flaxseed)
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tbsp. raw sesame seeds
Rich egg glaze (1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp. cream mixed well in a small bowl)

Making the Bread:
1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water in a measuring cup. Let settle and then stir gently and set aside for about ten minutes - until foamy.

2. Meanwhile warm the milk and melt the butter.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture, the milk, the honey, the melted butter. Add 2 c. of the flour, the seeds, and the salt and beat with a mixer for 3 – 4 minutes.

4. Add the rest of the flour ½ c. at a time, mixing with a heavy spoon until the dough is shaggy and can be scraped from the bowl’s sides.

5. Sprinkle some of the flour onto a cool kneading surface and turn the dough onto the surface. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, using the rest of the flour to keep the kneading surface from getting too ‘sticky’ while you work with the dough.

6. While kneading, add only a tablespoon or two of flour at a time and knead until the dough is silky and smooth.

7. Place the dough in a clean greased bowl and turn the dough ball to coat it with oil or shortening.

8. Cover with a moist towel and place the dough in a warm spot away from drafts until it is doubled in bulk – about 1 ½ hours.

9. Gently press the dough down and divide it to make two loaves. Shape the loaves as you see fit and place them in greased bread pans. The book called for two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.

10. Cover with the damp towel and let them rise until they are about 1 inch above the top rim of the pans – about 45 minutes.

11. While they rise, preheat the oven to 400°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

12. Just before the loaves go into the pre-heated oven, brush them with the egg glaze.

13. Place them in the oven and lower the heat immediately to 375°F.

14. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped.

15. Bake the loaves for 25 minutes and then cover loosely with a piece of foil to shield the tops. Continue baking for the other 20 minutes.

16. When the loaves come from the oven, take them from the loaf pans right away and cool on a rack before attempting to cut into them.

17. Wrap tightly with foil and bag the bread in plastic to freeze and/or store.

...this bread slices like a dream and makes the BEST toast


  1. thing of beauty and stunning colour.

  2. even though i've omit on flour from my diet, your bread is seriously tempting me! i could almost smell the bread :) what a beauty

  3. This sounds absolutely delicious! It's been saved!

  4. Oh very nice Susan. This would be perfect with a little pat of butter. Life is good isnt it?

  5. Homemade bread tastes the best!

  6. oh that looks very very good. nothign like fresh homemade bread, and i love what that egg glaze did to your bread, that shiny surface is so delicious looking!

  7. honey bread is the best... what a thing of beauty, the plaited one is stunning!

  8. The photos are beautiful. I would love to have a huge slice of this bread, right out of the oven with butter spread all over it. I bet your house smelled delicious.

  9. That is one BEAUTIFUL loaf SUSAN!!! Even love the way you've woven it and delish with the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and honey. I made an apple, oatmeal and walnut bread last week that I must post :) You are an ACE baker for sure!

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


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