Cooking, Food, Recipe

Second Breakfast Bread

I’m a huge Tolkein fan. I’ve always identified most with the hobbits, and specifically with Rosie Cotton – the girl Samwise Gamgee came home too. Of all those who were cursed to foray forth on that eventful journey, he is the one with the happiest ending. So it tickles me to realize that this bread is Hobbit worthy. And it is! It’s packed full of complexity, but on the surface it’s unassuming, with a touch of crunchiness and sweetness and the bite of ginger at the end. I’d asked for help in naming it, and suggestions of SHARB (Spiced Honey Apple Rum Bread) were good, as were the variations on pirate… but in the end, the rum is a muted note in the symphony of flavors here. It was the texture, and sheer mass, of the bread, that convinced me it was ideal for second breakfast, when you need something warm and buttery in your belly to keep you going until lunch, or brunch, or elevenses, or tea, or… 

honey-glazed almonds to top it off with some crunch.

The initial bread recipe is from my Fanny Farmer cookbook, Pain d’Epice, and the unique feature of this bread is the texture. It’s something between a quick bread, and a yeast bread, with the moist chewiness of well-activated gluten. It’s not as sweet (or crumbly) as a zucchini or banana bread, both of which can verge into ‘cake.’ This batter takes longer, but it’s worth the wait, and if you have a stand mixer you’re not really doing any of the work for it! 

Also, and possibly most important to both the bread, and hobbitiness of it, this is sweetened with honey alone. A half cup of golden ambrosia, to be exact, plus a tablespoonful to glaze the top during baking. I finally got to feature the Killer Bees honey Peter Grant sent me some time ago, and I was very excited about that (I love their logo, and I’m very fond of supporting beekeepers). You can find their sampler pack here, and you really must get the politically incorrect version. Hobbits would do nothing less than poke the establishment and laugh when it jumped back in alarm. (Cedar’s note: I like the honey, I don’t know these people from Adam, and am certainly not being compensated for my words. Just… make the bread and enjoy the honey?)

Is that not a great logo?

Second Breakfast Bread

In a stand mixer (you could do it by hand. Read the recipe to learn why you don’t want to) bowl place: 

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c rye flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger

Add to the dry goods: 

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 2 grated apples (I like Granny Smith for added tartness)
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum

Preheat oven to 350 deg, and grease a large (9″x5″) loaf pan. 

Mix the batter on med-low for 20+ minutes. Yes, you heard me right, I didn’t typo. We’re going to activate the heck out of the gluten here. The fantastic texture of this bread needs you to do this for 20-30 minutes before baking. 

Pour the batter into a greased pan and lightly sprinkle sliced almonds on top of it. 

Bake for 35 min. Brush the almonds with warmed, runny honey. Put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until a wooden skewer (or toothpick, or what-have-you) comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool in pan for a couple of minutes, then turn out onto the rack. Fend off family until cooled to the point of safety. Slice while still warm and serve with a schmear of butter and maybe more honey if you have that sweet a tooth. 

The end result is dense, chewy in a good way, mildly sweet, complex nuttiness with a hint of the rum and apple and spice… The First Reader initially thought it would need honey on a slice, then changed his mind when he’d tried it just with butter. It’s perfect food, and I’d put it up against Lembas for travel food, actually. I won’t mention that the spice mixture in this bread is the we-love-to-hate-it infamous pumpkin spice, shall I? 

26 thoughts on “Second Breakfast Bread

      1. If my memory doesn’t betray me, real “honey cakes”– not mutated cinnamon rolls, though they’re both good– are closer to zucchini bread in texture than standard cake.

  1. The hive girls of Killer Bees Honey are all a twitter (I’d say “a buzz,” but why bee cliche?) participating in your recipe and complimenting your bread. We thank you! – The Beekeeper of

      1. Cedar, please feel free to come and take one of our tours. it’s complimentary to professionals (meaning, you).


  2. I am delighted to know you can substitute while wheat. I really, really, dislike the bread. But I may have to make this!

    1. I didn’t find the rye added much flavor – there’s a lot going on here! But there is no point buying rye flour if you don’t like it. Any hearty meal would like work here – oat flour, barley… needs to have gluten, though.

  3. Lembas has always seemed too ambitious, but I tried several times to make cram, like the Lake – Towners. Low expectations. Realized.

  4. banana bread, … which can verge into ‘cake.’
    Isn’t that the point?

    Ummm….. how much more rum can you add before this cooks funny?
    I’m asking for a friend.

  5. Well, I for one look forward to seeing the Monster Cookies recipe when / if you find the time, they sound good !

    Cram, a’ la Chateau D’Eez, was along the lines of enriched hardtack with dried fruit bits. Camping food of last resort, when you’re still a day or two out and everything else has been eaten. Think dwarf bread or Kula bars; that’s what I meant by “low expectations”. Actually, compared to those two, cram was pretty good stuff !

  6. If you put the rum in before baking, all the alcohol evaporates. Try adding the rum after baking, and let it mellow a while, like an old-style fruitcake.
    Yes, I am one of the few who do like to make fruitcake, and even eat it. I use a recipe called “Jamaican Black Spiced Fruitcake”
    Took some to father-in-laws 90th birthday, and one of his contemporaries told me that is what it used to taste like when he was a kid.
    Thanks for this recipe. Will try it soon.
    John in Indy

    1. I love fruitcake. There’s a recipe on my site for Jam Cake which is an old Kentucky recipe from my husband’s family, and it’s the best fruitcake I’ve eaten.

      I can’t do the alcohol after baking, we have kids in the house! Lol

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