What would a French Holiday Season be without a few slices of delicious Spiced Bread? Fragrant, sweet and comforting, it is simply a must. This recipe, by French Pastry Chef Michalak, combines sweet honey with bright citrus flavors, and is perfectly spiced. A pure pleasure!
This Honey and Citrus Spiced bread truly stole my heart – but it is no surprise when you know its recipe was crafted by the mind of the talented Christophe Michalak.
If you don’t know him yet, Christophe Michalak is a French pastry chef and TV personality. (if you go to Paris, you have to visit his fantastic pastry shops!). His twist on French pastry classics is always fun, bright and full of pep. Just like this spiced bread!
I am a big fan of spiced breads, and I have surely tried my share of recipes in the past. And although the traditional pure-honey spiced bread recipe (from Bourges, France) is still high on my list of favorites, I must say today’s recipe is now my number one.
Making a well-balanced spiced bread can be a challenge. Half-bread, half-cake, its texture is sometimes too dry, or too rich. The spice mix can be too strong, or conversely, underwhelming. If you respect this recipe, I believe you can achieve a perfectly spiced, perfectly moist loaf.
With plenty of honey, this spiced bread is so moist and has a very tender, yet airy texture. The addition of citrus (orange, lime and lemon) is such a nice twist, making it bright and comforting at the same time.
- I have used wildflower honey for this recipe, but I believe any type of honey will work well. Dark honey will result in a darker, deeper-flavored bread.
- Since we are using the zest of citrus, opt for organic citrus.
- If you have some patience, after the loaf is baked and at room temperature, wrap in foil and let it sit for 24 hours. This really helps bring out the honey, spice, and citrus flavors. The loaf will be so much better the next day, and the day after, and the day after.
1 cup (150g) of water
1/3 cup (60g) sugar
½ cup (160g) honey
3g four spices mix
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 orange
4g star anis
6.5 (95g) tbsp butter
1 pinch of salt
1 ¼ cup 150g flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
In a sauce pan, bring the water to a boil with the sugar, salt and honey. Add in the four-spice mix, the star anise and the zests. Add in the butter and let it melt. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let infuse for 20 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Preheat your oven to 350C
Poor your honey mix through a filter/mesh (to discard of the zest and spices).
Slowly pour the honey mix into the flour mix and start whisking until you reach a smooth batter.
Grease a loaf pan and pour in the batter (it should be a liquidish batter)
Bake for 40 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.