So, following this post, last week I began my journey through the recipes in the wonderful Leon: Baking and Puddings book. I didn’t start at the beginning of the book, though; more like page 104, because the honey bread recipe there caught my eye straight away. It is described as “a sweet, soft, wonderfully moreish tea bread”, and it was yummy indeed, but this bread is an unusual character.
It contains no egg or butter, in fact, no fat of any kind (which caused an extremely skeptical look to cross Jim’s face). But neither did it contain any yeast, as you might expect in a bread. It’s caught halfway between cake and bread, and perhaps because of this it has a distinctly unusual texture which Jim aptly described as “boingy”. Seriously, guys. It was like cutting a duvet.
But once we were in we were smitten by the warm honey flavour. The Leon recipe recommends serving slices with butter, but I don’t think it needs it. With a cup of tea, this moist, dense cake is perfect as it comes. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to use less lemon zest, or even leave it out altogether – it tended to overpower the other flavours in my bread. Because you know, honey and lemon can be great together, but sometimes honey just needs to rock out on its own.
Petra’s Honey Bread
225g (8oz) plain flour
115g (4oz) caster sugar
115g (4oz) honey
250ml (9fl oz) hot water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
zest of 1 lemon
– Heat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas mark 3. Butter a 450g/1lb loaf tin and line it with baking paper.
– Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.
– In a small pan melt together the honey and hot water.
– Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda over the water mixture and stir. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
– Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
– Remove from the tin and while still warm brush the top of the bread with honey for a nice sticky finish.
EDIT: Apparently the recipe is incorrect in the Leon cookbook; it should be 150ml of water instead of 250ml! This may make the cake less duvet-like…