Caramelised Honey + Poppy Seed Loaf


 Prep Time : 20 + 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Moderate

Hello my lovelies! So many of my favourite things come together in this loaf. Honey. Poppy seeds. Bread. European and Middle Eastern flavour notes. A touch of lemon. Contrasting textures. It’s a fabulous sweet and sticky bread party. There are a few steps to it but it’s all easy. Worth every second. A simple milk dough is dressed up with a fancy filling and a drizzle of glamour. It’s not really a babka. It looks like one but the dough is lighter and easier to handle. I am also wary sometimes about using some of the traditional names. Apparently there is debate and controversy about what to call your delicious twisted loaf. So we just call it a loaf and have done. Still delicious. Still impressive.

Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Warm the milk and honey together. Don’t let it get too hot. Sprinkle over the yeast and let it get all foamy.

Add the milk mixture and the melted butter to the flour.

Use your hand to mix everything together into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Tip the dough out. Make sure you scrape out all the bits. Knead until smooth and elastic – about 6 to 7 minutes.

Pop the dough into a bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – about 45 minutes.

While the dough is proving, make the filling. Using a mortar and pestle or a bullet-style blender, roughly smash the poppy seeds until there is a mix of whole seeds and pieces. It won’t take long, you just want to break them up a bit. It’s much easier to control using a mortar and pestle.

Melt the butter and honey together. Add the poppy seeds along with the cinnamon and very finely minced lemon zest. I zest the lemon then use a sharp knife to mince it a bit further.

Tip the dough out onto the bench and pat it out into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to ease the dough out into a rectangle 45cm by 25cm. Spread the filling mixture thinly across the rectangle leaving a 2 inch border along one long edge.

Roll the dough up starting at the other long edge until you have a long sausage. pinch the seam closed.

Giving yourself plenty of room, use a sharp knife to cut the sausage in half lengthwise. Leave an inch or so at the top to hold the two legs together.

By alternating laying the legs over each other – similar to how you would make a three-strand braid – make a twist. Pinch the ends of the dough together when you get to the end. You will need to be a bit gentle so take your time.

Lightly grease a loaf pan with vegetable oil. The dough will be about double the length of the pan at this stage. Starting at one end lay the dough gently in, doubling back to use up all the dough. Tuck the end under the loaf.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 45 minutes. While the dough is rising heat the oven to 200C( 395F).

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. It will rise a little further and be well browned with crisp edges on the braided pieces.

Leave the loaf in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. This lets the loaf steam a little which can help it release from the pan if it’s a bit stuck.

While the loaf is still warm make the drizzle. In a very small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of honey until it starts to bubble. Watch it carefully. When it starts to darken – it will only take a couple of minutes – remove it from the heat and drizzle over the loaf. Put a piece of baking paper under it to catch the drips. Trust me.

Make sure the loaf is completely cooled before trying to slice.

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Caramelised Honey + Poppy Seed Loaf


Prep Time : 20 + 20 mins | Cook Time : 30 mins | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Moderate | Makes : 1 small loaf

Soft fluffy milk dough wrapped around a sweet honey and poppyseed filling and topped with a lick of caramelised honey.

Ingredients:

For the dough

  • 300 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 mls warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) melted butter

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) poppyseeds
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams)  butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

To finish

  • 2 tablespoons honey

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, not too shallow
  • Mortar and pestle or bullet-style blender
  • Sharp knife and rolling pin

Directions:

Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl. Warm the milk and honey together. Don’t let it get too hot. Sprinkle over the yeast and let it get all foamy. Add the milk mixture and the melted butter to the flour.

Use your hand to mix everything together into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Tip the dough out. Make sure you scrape out all the bits. Knead until smooth and elastic – about 6 to 7 minutes.

Pop the dough into a bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – about 45 minutes.

While the dough is proving, make the filling. Using a mortar and pestle or a bullet-style blender, roughly smash the poppy seeds until there is a mix of whole seeds and pieces. It won’t take long, you just want to break them up a bit. It’s much easier to control using a mortar and pestle.

Melt the butter and honey together. Add the poppy seeds along with the cinnamon and very finely minced lemon zest. I zest the lemon then use a sharp knife to mince it a bit further.

Tip the dough out onto the bench and pat it out into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to ease the dough out into a rectangle 45cm by 25cm.

Spread the filling mixture thinly across the rectangle leaving a 2 inch border along one long edge. Roll the dough up starting at the other long edge until you have a long sausage. pinch the seam closed.

Giving yourself plenty of room, use a sharp knife to cut the sausage in half lengthwise. Leave an inch or so at the top to hold the two legs together.

By alternating laying the legs over each other – similar to how you would make a three-strand braid – make a twist. Pinch the ends of the dough together when you get to the end. You will need to be a bit gentle so take your time.

Lightly grease a loaf pan with vegetable oil. The dough will be about double the length of the pan at this stage. Starting at one end lay the dough gently in, doubling back to use up all the dough. Tuck the end under the loaf.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 45 minutes. While the dough is rising heat the oven to 200C( 395F).

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. It will rise a little further and be well browned with crisp edges on the braided pieces.

Leave the loaf in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. This lets the loaf steam a little which can help it release from the pan if it’s a bit stuck.

While the loaf is still warm make the drizzle. In a very small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of honey until it starts to bubble. Watch it carefully. When it starts to darken – it will only take a couple of minutes – remove it from the heat and drizzle over the loaf. Put a piece of baking paper under it to catch the drips. Trust me.

Make sure the loaf is completely cooled before trying to slice.

Cook’s Notes:

  • This dough will rise fairly quickly. The bit of honey in the dough will be giving the yeast a boost.
  • If you don’t want to bother with the caramelised honey, just dust the loaf with icing sugar once it’s cold

 – This loaf is best the day it is made but is still good the next day. The toffee will soften after the first day because it will absorb water – to keep for longer freeze without the caramelised honey and drizzle onto thawed and warmed loaf later – 

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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