Now that I feel pretty confident about my regular breads (aromatic rye, black rye, Italian rosemary, French spiral with herbs, rye-choco-cherry, and of course the Saturday baguettes) I’ve been experimenting with other combinations.  This sweet bread combines saffron and honey to make a tea-cake – a cross between yeasted bread and cake.  You can add fresh lavender or other fragrant herbs to make it even better for teatime.  It keeps well, and it excellent toasted or as French toast, topped with honey, butter, or cream cheese.


200g hot water
100g honey
5g dried yeast
150g levain (starter)
10g kosher salt
generous pinch of saffron
1½ large eggs, plus ½ egg for the egg wash
50g light oil or olive oil
250g organic bread flour
250g organic all-purpose flour


In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir up the honey and hot water, then add the saffron, levain, and yeast. Stir well, then set aside in a warm place until the mixture is bubbly.  While waiting, measure out the flours, salt, and (optional) fresh lavender or other sweet herbs together.

With an electric hand mixer, beat the egg and oil into the yeast mixture;  add the flour and beat until all the flour is incorporated.  Add a little more hot water if required to make a wet dough.  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with oil or Pam;  set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle your counter with flour, tip out the dough, and knead vigorously for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Pop into a clean oiled bowl, cover with plastic and set in the fridge to rise overnight.

In the morning, bring up to room temperature, and knead lightly, then cut into ten pieces of 110g each.  Roll into little rectangles, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out each rectangle a bit bigger, then roll lengthways into tubes.  Bring the ends together and pinch to fasten with a little water.  Lay them around the edge of your pan – I used 10” springform pan, with eight round the edge and two in the middle.  Cover and let rise.

Twenty minutes before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 400°F/190°C.  If using a baking stone, put it on the middle shelf with an old cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven.  Put on a kettle to boil.

When the bread has risen, brush the dough with the remaining half egg.  Place the pan on the baking stone, and pour boiling water into the frying pan.  Shut the oven door to keep in the steam!  Bake for 35 minutes until the top is golden.  Cool on a rack – or eat warm with butter!

Here’s a printable version of the recipe:  HoneyBuns.