It’s no secret that Jeff and I love a good wine/beer/whisky/cider tasting……ok let’s just say we love to sample anything with alcohol! We’re a good time, what can I say?!? Niagara-on-the-Lake and The Niagara Wine Trail are among our local favorites because they have SO much variety. From wine, to cider, to beer, and whisky…you name it, we’ve tried it! But did you know there’s a NEW way to get your tasting on in Buffalo???? Stop what you’re doing and make a beeline to Lilly Belle Meads for a one of a kind tasting experience!
After a few samples, I think it’s safe to say we found the areas next craft beverage trend! Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. Also known as “honey wine”, this “drink of the gods” is thought to be the worlds oldest alcoholic libation.
Some meads taste more like a beer, and some taste more like a wine, but owner and local beekeeper Patricia Marshall was able to steer us both in the right direction. On most days you can find either her or her husband Joe behind the bar. She was so friendly, helpful and super knowledgable about the entire process. You can tell that this husband and wife team is beyond passionate about their work, which I loved. BTW….Pro Tip: You’re gonna wanna order snacks!! These meads are no joke with an alcohol content of up to 14%. You just might get a little buzzed! (do you see what I did there?!?) Order the pretzel bites and thank me later!!
After sampling just about one of EVERYTHING on the menu, we left with a bottle of Bobby and Bee Blu in hand, and also a jar of local honey from Bee Country, home based in Darien,NY. Which leads me to our next recipe, Milk and Honey Bread! This super simple, 6 ingredient bread is absolutely everything!! Milk and Honey Bread is a basic bread recipe that is perfect for beginners. A from scratch bread that is delicately sweet in flavor, rises high, and bakes up perfectly moist every time. And I know you have all these ingredients in your pantry right now. It’s a no brainer! This one will be your new favorite!
Here’s all you’ll need: yeast, milk, honey (preferably from Lilly Belle!), butter, salt, and flour.
All you bread making newbies out there, don’t be scared!! I’ll walk ya through all the steps. We’ll start by heating the milk. I’m not here to be fancy and use a thermometer or a saucepan on the stove. I told you we’re keeping it basic. Place the milk in a microwave safe container and heat for 30 seconds. Give it a stir and pop it back in for another 30. Now stir in the yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate (basically it will start to look a little bubbly…but if anyone asks that’s activating your yeast!)
Meanwhile, melt the butter. Add the milk and yeast mixture, then stir in the honey and salt. Did I mention this recipe is also easy to doubled?!? That means you can have TWO loaves of deliciousness cooking at once!! Sign me up!!
With a hand mixer, blend in two and a half cups of flour on low speed. Beat until smooth. Milk and Honey bread is perfect for beginners because it doesn’t require a bread machine. We’re going back to the basics and doing this all by hand.
Add the remaining flour by hand. Here’s where the muscle comes in. Knead the dough by hand until smooth and elastic. You can knead it in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface. Whichever works better for your technique! Basically you’re just punching down the dough, flipping it over, and trying to suck up all the flour as you go. You know who make the best kneaders….kids!! Grab a small child and let them go at it. I know it’s summer break and they’re bored. You deserve a break anyways!!
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover (with a dish towel or plastic wrap) and let rise in a warm place (think stovetop or countertop, any place that’s out of the way) for one hour. The dough will double in size.
Lightly punch down the dough. I don’t wanna see any bruised knuckles!! Spray a 9X5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Form the dough into a loaf shape and place it in the loaf pan. Cover and let rise again til doubled. This time you’ll only need about 30 minutes. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. The little foil tent will keep the bread from getting too brown.
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with butter and additional honey! But we all know fresh from the oven is the right thing to do. You better go with that second loaf because this one will be gone in a blink! Take your bread making to the next level with our Cheesy Beer Bread!
Milk and Honey Bread
- 1 packages active dry yeast (about 3 teaspoons)
- 1-1/4 cups warm milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Step 1 Place the milk in a microwave safe container and heat for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Mix in the yeast. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
- Step 2 Melt the butter. In a large bowl, combine the milk and yeast mixture along with the butter, honey, and salt. Blend in two and a half cups of flour with a hand mixer on low speed. Beat until smooth.
- Step 3 Add the remaining flour by hand. Knead the dough, on a lightly floured surface, until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
- Step 4 Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour. The dough will double in size.
- Step 5 Lightly punch down the dough.Spray a 9X5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Form the dough into a loaf shape and place it in the loaf pan. Cover and let rise again til doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Step 6 Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Step 7 Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with butter and additional honey! Enjoy!!
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