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Why is there honey in this yeast bread?

Howard_2 Aug 4, 2012 04:23 AM

I have a recipe for a yeast bread that includes 2 T of honey.

This puzzles me. Won't the honey be digested first, and therefore won't any sweetness from the honey disappear?

If so, is there any real purpose to adding honey? It's *very* unusual to see any kind of sugar in a east bread.

  1. todao Aug 4, 2012 04:25 AM

    Yeast's digestion of honey doesn't remove the sweetness. Yeasted breads often use sugar and/or honey to lighten the texture (increase the tenderness) of the loaf.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao
      ipsedixit Aug 4, 2012 12:25 PM


      There's glucose in the honey, as well as fructose.

    2. Jpan99 Aug 4, 2012 04:28 AM

      Not unusual at all. The sugar is food for the yeast. I've never made a yeast bread without a bit of sugar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jpan99
        Chowrin Aug 4, 2012 04:48 AM

        Plenty of them don't have it, but it Takes Longer to get the yeast to start in on the flour.

      2. w
        wyogal Aug 4, 2012 12:28 PM

        Like everyone said, it's sugar, which feeds the yeast and helps it move along a little faster. It also adds a bit of flavor.
        And no, it's not unusual at all to see a bit of sugar in a yeast bread.

        1. k
          kengk Aug 4, 2012 01:43 PM

          I make a honey/whole wheat bread from time to time that is quite good and you can definitely taste just a hint of the honey. I'm not particularly fond of honey so the hint is just about right for me.

          Just from memory I think it has three tablespoons of honey for a two loaf recipe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kengk
            tonifi Aug 4, 2012 02:17 PM

            The honey adds a bit of sweetness, encourages yeast growth, contributes to browning of the crust, and, like molasses, will help keep your bread from staling quite so quickly. Sweeteners such as honey are certainly not necessary to the making of good bread (and some purists do eschew them, it is true) but can enhance the end product considerably...depends on what you're going for, really.

            1. re: kengk
              paulj Aug 4, 2012 02:24 PM

              Sweeteners are often added to whole wheat bread, in part to counter the bitterness that come from the bran.

            2. j
              John Francis Aug 5, 2012 03:36 PM

              Not unusual at all - usual, in fact. Most of the white and whole wheat bread recipes I use have sugar or honey,. Some breads like Plymouth and Anadama use molasses instead, and you can taste a bit of sweetness but not too much. Many quick breads like biscuits and soda bread do without.

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