Holiday Honey Spice Bread

Makes 2 loaves

  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1-1/2 cups Buckwheat honey
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons very finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 250°. Butter two large (9 1/4 x 5 1/4 X 2 1/2) loaf pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. EVERYTHING MUST BE WELL-BUTTERED OR IT WILL STICK. Set aside. Heat the milk, sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside until slightly cooled. In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine flour, baking soda, fennel seed, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and pepper. In two batches, add the tepid honey mixture and candied ginger. Scrape down the sides as needed, and blend on low speed until just combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans, dividing the batter evenly and not filling the pans more than half full. Transfer to the heated oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Watch the last 30 to 45 minutes, and cover with aluminum foil if the bread starts to become too dark). Remove the loaves to a rack to cool slightly. Turn the loaves out of the pans and remove the parchment paper. Slice each loaf into 10 slices. The bread keeps well very tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 week.

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board.

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