Tiggers don’t like honey.
~ A A Milne ~
Hmmm, I am not surprised, Tigger. I also don’t like honey. It’s got too much of a honey taste! Seriously though, I can eat a piece of sourdough bread with honey, but only one. I prefer savoury spreads or marmalade. So if you asked me to pick between the cheese loaf (which I have turned into Cheese Muffins) and the Bran & Honey loaf in my mom’s recipe scrapbook, I would always choose the cheese loaf. But my mother kept making the Bran & Honey loaf and every time she made it, it disappeared within a few minutes. Most people would take one slice and then immediately go back for more. I remained sceptical.
The proof is in the loaf
So what makes everybody flock back to the table for Bran and Honey Loaf? I eventually realised the honey is just there for some “behind the scenes” magic. The loaf basically consists of bran-rich self-raising flour and buttermilk. Add to that some bicarbonate of soda and a squeeze of honey and this loaf rises beautifully without the need to develop gluten or wait for yeast to do its work. It turns into a lovely dark bran bread without any real sweetness or honey taste. It works extremely well as a side-dish for a braai, or to serve with something like quiche and salad for lunch. We have even served it at a Lady’s Tea cut into cute bite-sized pieces.
Only the pros remain
So if I can’t complain about this Bran and Honey loaf tasting like honey, there are really no cons – only the pros remain. And the pros are many. The loaf turns out looking like a proper whole-wheat bread. The recipe is super easy and the preparation takes minutes only. You can toast slices of Bran and Honey loaf and probably put honey on if you are of the Pooh persuasion rather than the honey-hating Tiggers of the world. But it doesn’t really need a lot of additional spreads or toppings. It is delicious just as it is with a pat of butter!
Bran and Honey Loaf
- 3 cups bran-rich self-raising flour
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds or nuts of your choice Plus some extra for topping the loaf.
- 500 ml buttermilk
- 1 t bicarbonate of soda
- 1 t salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.
- Add the honey and buttermilk and mix until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Don't over mix.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased loaf tin (23 x 13 x 6cm) and scatter a few nuts or seeds on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes until the loaf is golden brown on top and pulls away from the sides of the loaf tin.
- Turn the loaf out of the tin after 5 minutes and let it cool down completely before slicing.
- Tip: spray your measuring spoon with non-stick spray or dunk it into hot water before measuring out the honey.
- I like using sunflower seeds for this recipe. The original recipe also suggested trying a handful of cereal instead of the seeds.