Whenever asked, I consider myself a cook, rather than a baker. Baking requires precision, and measuring ingredients out accurately is a necessity, rather than an option. Cooking, on the other hand, involves savory ingredients, and I can often taste as I prepare my meal, adding a little of this and that along the way depending on my mood. My husband and I do not even eat sweets, so it isn’t something that I crave. I have become a baker of necessity since living here in Umbria however, as I bake twice a week for our farmhouse guests, and always have something on hand for anyone who stops by. Our handyman is at the property at least five days a week and looks forward to a slice of cake or a few cookies at his mid-morning espresso break. Although I do not love baking, I figure that anyone who can read a recipe can bake! When I do bake, I prefer quick rustic cakes or bread made with nuts or seasonal fruit, and I stay away from fussy desserts that take too much time.
When we first return to Umbria one of my first chores is to set up my kitchen. This set up involves washing everything down, shining up all the stainless steel and putting all the pantry ingredients back into our pantry cupboard. This year, my husband remarked on the number of jars of honey I had in my pantry, which has become an issue if I say so myself. You see I love honey, especially naturally flavored organic honey and I buy it whenever I see it. I have chestnut honey, lavender honey, orange blossom honey, honey from Corsica, honey from England…..you get the gist of it. I have a LOT of honey! So, when planning to bake something the other day, I decided it best to use up some of my honey stash. To me, honey and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger are perfect together, so I made two loaves of Honey Spice Bread. The recipe below makes just one loaf, but feel free to double the recipe if you like. I like to bake double, so I can freeze one for the future so I can always have something on hand when needed. The icing is optional.
I used white spelt flour in this recipe to make the loaves a little healthier, but you can use all-purpose flour if you prefer. Though I generally do not add icing or glaze my sweets, I thought a light cinnamon flavored glaze would be nice on this quick bread. You can skip the glaze and simply dust the loaf with some powdered sugar if you prefer. I kept this loaf simple, but you could add half a cup of raisins and/or chopped walnuts if you like.
Deborah Mele 2017
- 2 Cups White Spelt Flour
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk
- 1 Cup Honey
- 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
- Grated Zest From 1 Orange
- 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
- 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Teaspoons Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and lightly grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
Stir together the first 7 ingredients in a bowl.
Add the milk, honey, egg, orange zest, and melted butter, and stir with a wooden spoon just until mixed. (The batter will be very liquid!)
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
Cool 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients, then pour over the loaf.
Let the glaze set for 1 hour, slice, and enjoy!