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Honey and Saffron Loaf

I am a big fan of Paul Hollywood. Not only is he a fabulous baker with some amazing recipes, he is great at explaining techiniques and method. On camera, he virtually always mixes with his hands, not using so much as a spoon, let alone an electeic mixer. His kneading is impressively and skillfully done – sometimes one handed! Paul must have been one of the first bakers I saw on TV where the camera actually paid close attention to his mixing and kneading the dough. Watching his video clips unquestionably helped my technique and inspired me.

This particular bread, which you can see Paul making here, is very tasty. It is moist and has a lot of sweetness from the fairly large amount of honey in it. The bread actually tastes a bit buttery, though there is no butter in it. I think it is particularly good as toast or dipped in winter soups. I skimped a bit on the saffron and wish that I hadn’t; my loaf had a few bright spots of yellow, but the overall hue of the interior was muted. This dough is very easy to work with and has a very springy, pleasant texture.

The recipe online differs slightly from the one in Paul’s book, mostly in the ratio of whole wheat (wholemeal) flour to plain flour. I used a combination of bread flour and whole wheat, but used more bread flour overall. Make sure to use a very sharp blade to make the slash around the circumference of this loaf, as a clean spiral will look amazing once the bread is baked.

Honey and Saffron Loaf
(adapted from 100 Great Breads)

1 1/2 -2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

4 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1 tbsp salt

1/3 cup honey

1/4 tsp saffron, crushed

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup bread flour, all the yeast and 1 1/4 cups water. Stir well and let stand, covered, for 4 hours.
Warm remaining 1/4 cup water and dissolve saffron in it. Add to flour mixture, along with remaining whole wheat flour, salt and honey. Gradually add the remaining bread flour, mixing until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn bread out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, 4-5 minutes. Place bread in a clean bowl to rise, covered, for an additional 30 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425F.
Slash loaf with a sharp blade and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the loaf is a dark gold and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf

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  • bokbaksa
    November 4, 2005

    Wonderful colour and blades!
    I love this like simple bread.

  • Cathy
    November 4, 2005

    I had never heard of him until I was reading Alice’s post about the package you sent her which included this book. She also provided the link to the videos and I watched one. I’ll definitely be going back to watch more. In fact, the entire website looks to be quite interesting!

  • Melissa
    November 5, 2005

    I’m a huge fan, he always uses fresh yeast!!!! How did you hear of him?

    I’m lucky because I get to see him from time to time when he is on UKFOOD. I think he’d be a terrific teacher……shall we sign up for a class or two?
    PS….your bread looks fantastic!

  • Baking Soda
    November 5, 2005

    Love the look of this bread! I’d never heard of the man until reading Alice’s post with the link. I couldn’t resist writing about his …. black shirt. Love yr blog and visit it regularly.

  • Gourmet
    November 5, 2005

    Hy Nic!!!

    What a beautiful bread…
    I love bread,Italian grissini and all “foodbloggers” in the world..

    Sorry 4 my english!!

    Prefiero hablar espagnol…

    Hasta Luego : ) !

  • Alice
    November 5, 2005

    I hadn’t heard of him either…until I got my package. There are a lot of his recipes I want to try, though!! And, I need to watch some of the videos, too…I’m always inspired by bread baking! 🙂

  • Nic
    November 5, 2005

    Bobaksa – Thank you! The crust was really wonderful.

    Cathy – It’s a great resource. And you can’t beat recipes that have videos. Hmm… I wonder if I can mamage that here.

    Melissa – Thanks! I don’t remember how I first heard of him, but it was about a year and a half ago. I’d give my right arm to take a class with him if I didn’t need it to knead my dough!

    baking soda – Great post and thank you!

    Gourmet – Thanks for visiting! I need to brush up on my language skills so I can understand everyone’s blogs better.

    Alice – I know what you mean. I hope that you get some good use out of the book!

  • Amy
    November 5, 2005

    oooh, I have been on a bread mission lately, I just might have to try this!

  • keiko
    November 11, 2005

    Hi Nic – I was thinking of buying his book, but got Dan Lepard’s one instead… your bread always looks perfect and fantastic, I wish I could bake like you…!

  • Nic
    November 11, 2005

    You are really much too kind, Keiko. You’re creations always look so delightful. Perhaps I am good with breads, but I certainly wish I had your pastry talent.

  • Paul Hollywood
    November 25, 2005

    Thanks for your comments, please go to my website for course info

  • Nic
    November 27, 2005

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Paul. The next time I’m in the UK, I will definately try to arrange a course.

  • Anne
    November 29, 2005

    Nic – I just tried this for Thanksgiving. God, I love it! One of the best breads I’ve ever made, that’s for sure! Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous
    September 16, 2006

    But why does he have the most awful photos of bread on his website!
    If you really want to see how it should be done visit

    Lovely images all taken by him, and inspirational recipes.

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