Herb-infused Honey with Fresh Sourdough Bread

Herb-Infused Honey

One advantage of living in the woods is having neighbors who keep bees. I grow several herbs herbs that attract and feed our neighboring bees and other beneficial pollinators, and then my neighbors process the honey, which ends up gifted back to us, an agricultural ecosystem at its core.  Herb-infused honey is so fragrant, flavorful, and so easy and versatile, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before now. The honey can be used in both hot and iced teas and lattes, or on fresh sourdough bread or biscuits. This, and several other herbal recipes, can be found in my book, Seasonal Living with Herbs

dried herb of choice (amount will vary depending on size of storage container)
honey, preferably locally sourced (amount will vary depending on size of storage container)

Herbs that work well with this recipe: anise hyssop, bee balm, calendula, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lilac, and rose.

To Create

  1. Add a bit of honey to the bottom of a clean, dry glass jar; just enough to coat the bottom.
  2. Fill the ¾ full with the dried herb but do not pack tightly.
  3. Pour honey over the herbs. Use a chopstick or skewer to move the herbs around, to en \sure they are completely saturated and that there are no air bubbles.
  4. Cap with an airtight lid and let sit for a week before removing the plant parts. 

Note: You can substitute dried herb for fresh, however the moisture from fresh herbs will expedite the crystallization process of honey. If using fresh herbs, refrigerate the infused honey to delay crystallization and extend shelf-life. If using dried herbs per this recipe, your honey can be kept out on your counter for up to six months. Store your honey in glass containers, as it will erode plastic.

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Sourdough Bread

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Here is my tried and true, sourdough recipe:

50g starter (you can buy my dehydrated starter HERE)
350g water
500g flour
15g salt (or to your preference)
rice flower for coating benetton
2 handfuls of uncooked rice to cover bottom of Dutch oven

Tools + Supplies
large glass bowl
digital kitchen scale
beeswax cloth cover or a large plate that is larger than glass bowl
1 piece parchment paper
lame, sterile razor blade, or other sharp edge
Dutch oven or other cast iron pot with lid

CLICK HERE to visit my Amazon Sourdough page for quick links to some of my favorite tools and supplies.

To Create

  1. After you have fed your starter and it begins to bubble (usually 6-12 hours after you feed it), you are ready to make dough. As a general rule, I feed my starter before I go to bed, then it's ready the next morning.
  2. In a large glass bowl, loosely stir 50g of starter with 350g of water. 
  3. Next, add 500g flour and 15g salt and combine until it makes a loose dough. Make sure there is no dry flour remaining.
  4. Cover loosely with a dinner plate or beeswax cloth and leave on the counter for an hour. I prefer to cover my dough bowl with a ceramic dinner plate and leave it on the gas stovetop so that air can circulate underneath the bowl. (Just be sure to remove the bowl if you're going to use the oven or stove.)
  5. Once the hour has passed, lift and fold the dough several times until a smooth round dough ball is created (appox 10+ times.)  Cover and set aside for another hour.
  6. Lift and fold another time or two throughout the day, always keeping it covered when it is resting and in a reasonably warm place (70-80 degrees is ideal). 
  7. Leave bowl on a warm elevated surface overnight.  (I leave mine in the oven with the door closed and the light on but no heat turned on. It works like a charm!)
  8. In the morning, your dough should have doubled in size and is likely pushing the plate up and off of your bowl! (If it has not, give it a few extra hours. All yeast rises at its own rate and the rise, even from the same starter, can vary greatly depending on the time of year and temperature of your home, among other circumstances.) Once you're confident your dough has risen, Liberally flour your benetton with rice flour or use the linen wrap cover they often come with. Pull the dough away from the bowl one last time with a very gentle 360-degree fold into the center and carefully transfer the dough to the benetton.
  9. Sprinkle some rice flour (or whatever flour you have) on top of the dough so it doesn't stick to your cover. Cover with a beeswax wrap or sinched linen cover and place in the refrigerator for a final proof of at least two hours (3-5 is ideal). I have found that the maximum final proofing time my dough can handle is 24 hours; but more than that and it becomes flat and dense (over proofed.) Three hours is ideal if you want perfect crumb and big bubbles.
  10. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degree F.
  11. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough in the benetton. Hold one hand against the parchment paper and one hand on the bottom of the bowl and gently flip the bowl upside down to transfer the dough onto the paper. Reshape the dough if necessary.
  12. Score the bread however you prefer (this is a wonderful opportunity to be creative or embrace simplicity; you choose!) Make sure you have one deep slit so the bread has some room for rising.
  13. Before placing the dough in your cast-iron Dutch oven, sprinkle a couple handfuls of uncooked rice or cornmeal in the bottom of the Dutch oven. This is a special trick I learned on my journey that I share with anyone who is baking sourdough. The rice acts as a barrier between the parchment paper-lined dough and the bottom of the Dutch oven, thus absorbing much of the heat that commonly causes the bottoms of our sourdough boules to burn. It works incredibly well and has been a huge ah-ha moment for many in my soudough baking community. 
  14. Place the boule (with parchment paper on bottom) inside on top of the rice/cornmeal. Cover with the Dutch oven lid, and bake at 450 degrees for 50 min.
  15. Take lid off, and bake an additional 5 min until the crust is a crispy golden brown. 
  16. Remove the bread from the cast iron immediately so it can begin to cool. Do not cut into it for at least 30 min to prevent it from becoming gummy.

Enjoy warm with butter and honey!

For more tips and tricks and a bit about my sourdough journey, head over to my journal article entitled, Slow Living Loaf by Loaf.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you. Thank you for using my affiliate links and supporting my small business in this way.

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