I am baking my favorite bread to sell at our fundraiser this Saturday. It is a recipe for Ethiopian Honey Bread and I usually have no problem with the recipe. Problem is I have made three batches totalling 12 loaves and every single batch has turned out different! The first batch was perfect, better then I have ever baked it! Then the second batch completely flopped, it did not rise well and was hard and to brown. So I racked my brain to try and figure out what I did differently and I cannot figure it out. So I whipped up another batch and again totally different bread, it rose bigger then any of the others but then rested to look like large flatter loaves. Uhg! Maybe it is the weather, I have found baking in a higher elevation to be much more difficult. Well, that is life, and maybe it is ok that way that we never have complete control over anything. Sure wish I could figure out what was so special about that first loaf though!
After this post I did some searching in the internet for alternative Honey Bread recipes and guess what?! Turns out that Honey Bread is also a Rwanda recipe. The only difference in the recipes is the use of cinnamon and a little more water in the Rwanda recipe. Also instead of putting the dough in a pan, I make a two strand braid and cook it on a baking sheet. Just like the coffee of Ethiopia and Rwanda, Honey Bread is the best bread I have ever tasted. So here is the recipe, enjoy!
Rwandan Honey Bread Recipe
1 package active dry yeast 1 egg 4 -4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 cup lukewarm milk 1/2 cup honey 3/4 cup lukewarm water 6 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter 1 tablespoon ground coriander1 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Put the lukewarm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Wait two or three minutes then stir thoroughly. Allow the mixture to stand in a warm place until the mixture almost doubles in volume. This should take another five minutes, approximately.
Using a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, honey, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Add the yeast, milk and four tbsp of the butter. Beat, then stir in the flour gradually. Use just enough flour to make a dough that forms a soft ball. If you can no longer stir it, use your hands to blend in as much additional flour as needed.
Flour a kneading board or other surface and knead the dough several times. You may smear a little melted butter over your hands to prevent sticking, but avoid using extra flour. You want the dough to remain soft and workable. Knead for about five minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Butter a large bowl, and place the shaped ball of dough into the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm location until twice the size. This takes an hour, give or take. Give the dough one sharp punch to flatten it and then knead for one or two minutes. Place it in the baking dish after you have shaped it into a round ball. Press down into corners.
Allow the dough to rise again for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Warm the oven to 300 ° F. Place the Rwandan honey bread in the middle of the oven for approximately an hour or a little less. When done, the top should be crusty and a light golden color. Cool on a cake rack.