Hi there. Thanks for hanging in.
The bad news is that I have been a little absent from my blog lately, but the good news is that it’s because I’ve been working with food all day, every day. My part-time waitressing job at the Cafe swiftly turned into a full-time cooking and baking job when the chef’s right-hand-man decided that it was time to move on. Obviously, I could not be much happier about this, but the timing was a tad nuts with the arrival of the High Holidays and Auralee on an extended break from school. Now that life is returning to normal, I can breathe a bit and absorb how great it is that I get to make muffins, cookies, pies, quiches, soups, sauces, and breakfast-anyway-you-like-it, all day long! Yay! Although I am sad that I don’t have as much time for leading food tours and giving wine tastings, and no time at all for teaching dance, it’s also refreshing to be mainly in one place, with a little work-family who grows on me more every day.
Needless to say, Jeff’s been picking up some of the cooking slack at home (he’s getting pretty good, actually!) but I still do the baking. This recipe is a new household favorite and something I found randomly on one of those collective cooking sites. I have no idea how authentic this Ethiopian bread is, or how “Zu” from Great Britain got her hands on it in the first place (it’s made its way all around the web), but I am very glad to have discovered it. (Update, after some research, the recipe seems to have come from a cookbook by Gene Opton, called Honey.) Because of the high honey and fat content, this bread adapts very well to being made with mostly whole wheat. Also, although a tablespoon of coriander sounds like a lot, give it a try. I was very surprised to taste how perfectly the amount and blend of spices worked in this bread. You can click over to Zu’s recipe here, or continue below to my slight adaptation.
Ethiopian Honey Bread
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (I packet)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup honey — use something good, raw, unboiled etc
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup lukewarm milk/soy/rice/nut milk
6 tablespoons melted butter (in the States, I would use Earth Balance spread)
4 cups flour — half, or 2/3 whole wheat, it’s your choice
In a small measuring cup, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Let stand for ~ 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve yeast. Set bowl in warm place for five minutes. Your yeast should look foamy; if it does not, check the expiration date and then start again.
Combine egg, honey, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a deep bowl, mixing with a whisk. Add yeast mixture, milk, and 4 Tblsp. of melted butter, mixing well. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture forms a stiff dough.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape into bowl coated with butter. Cover with towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
After dough has risen, spread remaining butter (I know, it seems like a lot, because it is) over a 2 quart souffle dish or other 3 quart dish at least 3 inches deep — I used a 9 inch cake pan. Punch dough down, knead again for another 2-3 minutes, shape into a round loaf and place it in dish and cover.
Allow to rise another hour until it reaches the top rim of the dish. Bake at 300 degrees F for 50-60 minutes until top is crusty and golden brown. Turn bread out of pan (important!) and set on a rack to cool.