Monday, May 7, 2012

Honey White Bread (Barefoot Contessa)

I'm speechless when I had my first bite of this bread. 

This basic but slightly brioche-like bread is very soft and delicious. I've tried my best to bake like a "star" and have followed Ina's instructions (Barefoot Contessa) as closely as I could. And, I was extremely impressed with the result!

Ina Garten, you are my super-star! This is truly a 5-stars rating recipe!

Love love love this loaf of bread!
Trying to bake like Ina Garten...
The freshly baked loaf...
Wow!  I'm 100% impressed with this bread!

Here's the recipe from book, Barefoot Contessa at home or Barefoot Contessa website.
(with my modification in blue)

1/2 cup warm water (110 °F)
2 packages dry yeast (I assume each package is 7g)
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm whole milk (110 °F)
6 tsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
(I prefer to use soften butter so that dough will not be too wet to handle)
1 1 /2 tbsp honey
2 extra-large egg yolks
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Note: I used half amount of the above recipe to bake only one loaf of bread.

Place the water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. (I was using a breadmaker with manual setting to mix and knead the dough in the order of Ina's instructions). If the bowl is cold, be sure the water temperature doesn’t drop below 110 °F. Add the yeast and sugar; stir and allow them to dissolve for 5 min.

Add the milk, butter, and honey. Mix on medium speed until blended. Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of the flour (1 1/2 cup for one loaf), and the salt. Mix on low speed for about 5 min. With the mixer still on low speed, add 2 more cups of flour (1 cup for one loaf). Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough of the remaining flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl. Add the flour slowly; you can always add more but you can’t take it out (I tried not to add too much flour and added only 1 tbsp extra - for one loaf). Knead on medium speed for about 8 min, adding flour as necessary. (I realised that dough will be smooth after this kneading step.)

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a min, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise for one hour, until doubled in volume.

Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with butter (I used one 10 cm x 20 cm loaf pan). Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a loaf shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover again with the damp towel, and allow to rise again for an hour, until doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (or 160°C fan forced). When the dough is ready, brush the tops with the egg white and bake the breads for 40 to 45 min (I baked mine for 40 min), until they sound hollow when tapped. Turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 

This is not the end of this post yet...

Got some leftover bread? Got 15 min to cook? This gourmet-style Bill Granger's Ham and Gruyère French Toast recipe might be the one for you...

These French toasts seems to be very basic but they are really very good! I know that I sounds like a  DASH-perate housewife recommending this recipe but I actually feel good sharing such an efficient recipe with everyone.

Here's the recipe from the book, Best of Bill by Bill Granger
(with my modification in blue)

Serve 4

4 eggs
185ml milk
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices white bread, 3 cm thick (I used the above honey white bread)
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 slices leg ham, trimmed to fit bread
4 slices Gruyère cheese, trimmed to fit bread
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the eggs, milk, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, carefully slit open one side of each slice of bread to form a pocket, leaving 1 cm around the edges. Spread the mustard on one side of the pocket and place a slice of ham and cheese inside. Put the pockets into a shallow dish. Pour over the egg mixture and leave for 5 min (I did mine for less than a min for each side) turning once.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat, add half the olive oil and swirl to coat the base of the pan. Add two bread pockets, cook on one side for about 2 min until golden brown, turn and cook for another min. Remove from the pan and place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining oil and bread pockets. Place the baking tray in the oven and cook for 10 min or until hot and the cheese has melted.

Note: Using half the amount of eggs and milk, I can make 3 french toasts with 3 slices of ham, cheese (2 slices of Gruyère and 1 slice of Fontina) and bread.

Happy Baking
Please support me and like me at Facebook.


  1. The bread looks awesome, nice texture..

  2. omg, you are killing me with the pictures of the melted cheese... omg, i'm so hungry now. anything Ina makes is a winner. I rarely eat white bread, but if it's freshly made, I will. :)

  3. Yes, I can see that the bread is soooo soft and I also love French toast, more so with kaya!

  4. Wow, this bread looks fantastic! Looks so soft and fluffy! And the french toast looks really good! Definitely KIV this!

  5. That loaf of bread is so soft!

  6. Love the toast version of bread. Look so yummy.

  7. Beautiful loaf Zoe! A perfect white bread. And the french toast looks fab.

  8. Hi Zoe, your white bread look so good. Very fluffy and cottony soft.
    Can pass me 2 slices? LOL

    Have a nice week ahead. Regards

  9. Hi Zoe! I have totally missed a few of your posts. Your blog is not showing up on my feeds anymore when you submit a new post. I may just have to refresh it or submit to you via email.

    Anyway, I love that you are back and making so many Barefoot recipes. I would love to make this brioche bread but I do not had a bread maker nor a pastry dough attachment for my kitchen aid. Blah!

    I love that you made her chocolate cake as well as that is still my favorite cake recipe EVER! So good and rich and moist! Barefoot does love her butter and salt, but she has some amazing recipes that always come out perfect!

    1. When I was back from my holidays, I was "shocked" to see the newer version of blogger. I have been resisting the uses of the new blogger for a while and now I was sort of forced to accept this new version with no choices of going back. I guess the conversion might change a little configuration of our accounts... and I'm guessing this might be the reason that my blog is not showing on your feeds...

      You got to try this recipe if you would like to bake your own bread. This is really good!

  10. Wow Zoe, the texture of this bread looks great...great pictures and delicious sandwich...
    Thanks for this recipe and hope you have a wonderful week ahead :)

  11. This bread is gorgeous!! Nice job! I want to try this recipe now. I make a lot of bread and always look forward to trying new recipes, and clearly this one is a winner!

  12. Hi Zoe! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Which book did this bread come from? I have 3 of her recipe books and I don't know why I haven't opened them in a while. I love everything Ina, her books, her show, her food, and her smile... Someday I wanna eat at her restaurant too.

    1. Hi Margarita,

      This recipe comes from the book, Barefoot Contessa at Home. As you can see, I'm a big fan of Ina and enjoy cooking and baking her recipes.


  13. Hello! Visiting you back from Straight from Bechay :)

    I have bread machine too but I have used it twice only since I purchased it. I might try Bare Contessa's white bread recipe. Thanks to you.

  14. Your picture perfect loaf of bread is definitely ready to take center stage as the star of the show! Way to go, Zoe:)

  15. This loaf looks incredibly soft, fluffy, and really yummy!

  16. Oh yum! I can't get enough bread. I love homemade bread (although I have only made it one time) This looks delicious! Absolutely perfect!

  17. This is fantastic! My mind is reeling thinking of all the wonderful things I can make with this.

  18. delicious bread !!!!absolutely loved it !!!!

  19. I love the Barefoot Contessa and have wondered about this bread recipe before! Glad to see it came out so perfectly :)

  20. with the review you made, i cant wait to try baking this bread, Zoe, looks so good, indeed!

  21. Soft white honey bread and then delicious golden French toast!! You're killing me Zoe! Drool! I didn't know Ina has such a good bread recipe! Will try this for sure, thanks! ��

  22. Your bread and your sandwich are heavenly! Saving this one for sure.

  23. I've been baking a lot of bread lately. It's very therapeutic!