In traditional cultures, daily bread was commonly made from the simplest of ingredients—flour, salt and water—but when a special celebration was called for, enrichments such as butter, eggs, nuts and sometimes dried fruit would be added, raising the bar on flavor and color. This rich, festive loaf, dripping with sweet, lemony butter, gets my vote for a toasted breakfast or an afternoon tea. Make it with either white or wheat flour, or a combination of the two. (Just remember that if you use wheat flour, you may need a bit of extra liquid.) MAKES 2 (9-INCH) LOAVES
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) butter, softened
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh or dried rosemary
• Lemon Rosemary Honey Butter (See below)
• Rosemary sprig, for garnish
1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a food processor bowl; pulse 3 to 4 times.
2. Stir together honey and butter in a small saucepan over low heat; cook, stirring constantly, just until butter melts and mixture is smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs and buttermilk. Drizzle honey mixture into the buttermilk mixture, stirring constantly.
4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture; process until the dough forms a ball.
5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead in the walnuts, raisins and rosemary. Place in a well-oiled bowl, turning to grease top.
6. Cover dough with waxed paper and a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, about 1 to 11⁄2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
7. Punch dough down; turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape into 2 oval loaves. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cover with waxed paper and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks. Serve with Lemon Rosemary Honey Butter.
Lemon Rosemary Honey Butter
Not only does this butter taste good, but it’s very pretty and would suit pancakes just as well as it suits the Raisin, Rosemary and Walnut Bread.
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons honey
• Zest of 1 small lemon
• 1 teaspoon rosemary blossoms or chopped rosemary
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; beat at medium speed with a handheld mixer until blended. Serve at room temperature. Store butter in refrigerator.
Lynn Alley is a food, wine and travel writer who lives in Southern California. She has written five cookbooks, including The Gourmet Slow Cooker (Ten Speed Press, 2003), and has a sixth, 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker (Andrews McMeel, 2011), just out.
Click here for the main article, Baking Homemade Herbed Bread.
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