Sweet Honey French Bread

23 11 2010

The way to 2Chili’s heart is undeniably through his sandwich. In fact, I distinctly remember a tweet he put out a while back before a vacation we took to the east coast expressing his joy to have found a town of Sandwich in Massachusetts. The boy loves bread.

So, when I started changing our diet, one of the first places I focused was bread. I started looking at labels, and wouldn’t you know it, that sneaky high fructose corn syrup turned up in just about every bread product in our house.

Determined to provide the most basic staple for my sandwich-lover, I bought a bread machine, and went to work. I cannot tell you how many rock-hard, bland, or just plain gross loaves of bread I turned out. The birds in our neighborhood made out like bandits (shhh…don’t tell anyone I fed the birds). It seemed no matter the recipe, I could not get a good loaf of bread out of a bread maker. And, 2Chili never quite warmed up to that weird hole at the bottom from the little mixer thingy.

Then I read a tip that changed everything. Everything!

Thank you, whoever you are, who made a comment on an allrecipes.com bread recipe stating that you use your bread machine to mix the dough and let it rise, but prefer to bake it in the oven. Genius, I tell you. Once I started employing that handy little trick, I was turning out delicious homemade bread. Why is it that my bread maker cannot turn out a good loaf of bread? I mean, it’s name is Bread Maker, which would imply that its sole job is to make bread.

Oh well, that’s water under the bridge at this point. Mr. Bread Maker and I have been living in harmonious accord ever since this discovery, and here is the bread that has 2Chili coming back for more. Enjoy!

honey french bread

Sweet Honey French Bread
Downloadable Word Document Recipe

Original recipe source/inspiration: Sweet Honey French Bread

Time Required:

  • 5 minutes to add ingredients to bread machine
  • 90 minutes (on my machine) for the machine mix and let rise
  • 23 minutes to cook in oven

Skill Level: Plate

2Chili’s Taster Rating: StarStarStarStarStar 
(When I forget to drizzle the honey on the top, this is only a 3.5 star recipe for him, and I am strongly reprimanded for leaving off said drizzle.)

Serves: Makes one loaf. The amount of servings varies based on how big you cut your slices. We do about 3/4 to 1 inch thick slices, and get somewhere between 14-16 slices per loaf.

Ingredients:

For the bread:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 cups bread flour (or, 20 ounces if you weigh the flour, which I do)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

For the topping:

  • Honey to drizzle on the loaf

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients for the bread to your bread maker in the order suggested by the manufacturer, set the machine to the “dough” setting, and start the machine
    • I have found if you add the olive oil before the honey, the olive oil coats the measuring spoon and lets the honey just drip out instead of sticking
  • When the dough is done, remove it from the machine and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. I sometimes use a little bit of flour dusted around the edges of the pan to help get the dough out. It won’t keep its shape, so don’t try to make it retain its shape.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • While the oven is preheating, roll the dough out into the shape of a French loaf and place onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet– it doesn’t have to be perfect!
  • Make a few angled cuts on the top of the dough to provide crevices for the honey to rest
  • Drizzle honey over the top of the bread and set it aside to wait for the oven to finish preheating. I usually just place it on top of the stove. It will rise a bit during this waiting process
  • Bake for 23 minutes, or until the top is golden brown
  • Cool, slice, and enjoy! This bread is particularly good with peanut butter sandwiches

Nutrition:
Based on 16 servings per loaf, each slice has:

  • Calories: 136
  • Total Fat: 1.2g
  • Saturated Fat: .2g
  • Cholesterol: 0g
  • Sodium: 121.mg
  • Carbohydrate: 27.4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 3.1g
  • Protein: 3.5g

The Verdict: Ever since I figured out the “bake the bread in the oven” trick, I have been on on retainer to keep this bread fully stocked in our house. I have tried it numerous ways, including with whole wheat flour, pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, and I have to say, the only way it is really, really good, is with un-enriched white flour. 2Chili calls this the best bread ever. I’m not sure if that’s really the case, but it is pretty delicious, and nary a drop of high fructose corn syrup to be found!

Also, it should be noted that when I have tried making this exact recipe by letting the bread machine do the work, it comes out pretty blah. So, cook it in the oven!

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One response

7 01 2011
Friday Favorites: Easy French Bread Pizza « Test Kitchen Tuesday

[…] will vary based on your bread and toppings. I based this on two slices made on this bread, with the above ingredients and spinach and mushroom […]

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