I was introduced to Hovis loaves by our British co-grandparents Sharon and Butch. Hovis manufactures the high-wheatgerm wholemeal flour for the loaves. They are baked in bread tins embossed with the Hovis logo so that the loaves themselves say HOVIS. In the past, some of the loaves were mini-size.
To learn more about Hovis loaves, read Karen Burns-Booth’s delightful post on her blog Lavender and Lovage.
I have heard nicely tanned baby feet compared to little Hovis loaves.
To feed the owners of the browned loaf-like feet, we made this bread. It does not include authentic Hovis granary flour, but perhaps someday we can switch out the whole wheat flour for Hovis granary flour.
This bread was adapted from from Jami’s recipe for dinner rolls at An Oregon Cottage, where you will find much helpful detail and pictures. Her recipe called for 1/4 cup of honey but that was a little too sweet for us.
With all the delicious butter and honey and healthy eggs and milk, this dough can rise more slowly than expected. If you want it to rise more promptly, make sure the temperature of your ingredients does not chill the dough. For example, it would be a good idea to have your eggs at room temperature.
On the other hand, a slower rise can be useful. You can mix the dough the night before you want to bake the loaves and let the dough rise overnight in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. If you do this, take the dough out of the refrigerator about an hour before you shape the loaves.
½ cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cup lukewarm buttermilk or milk
4 1/2 to 5 cups whole-wheat flour (ideally Hovis granary flour)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Whisk 4 1/2 cups of flour, the salt, and and the instant yeast in a bowl.
Cream the butter and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and mix, scraping the sides. Add the milk. It’s all right if you see lumps of butter floating around.
Add the flour, salt, and yeast mixture, mixing until combined. Change to dough hook and knead for 2-3 minutes only, just until no longer tacky, adding a tablespoon or two of flour, if needed. We’re just trying to lose the extreme stickiness here, not develop gluten. When the dough is still sticking to the bowl but not to a finger, it’s ready to rise.
Let sit in bowl, covered, to rise for an hour and a half, or until doubled in size. It may take longer. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times, then let rest 3 minutes.
Divide into 3 equal pieces, shaping each into a little loaf and placing in a well-buttered 3 x 5 1/2-inch mini-loaf pan.
Let rise, covered for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter. serve. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a rack. Slice and toast for baby meals.