Natural sweeteners can play an important part in the flavoring of baked goods. Bread, in particular, can greatly benefit from a sweet infusion.

One of the best pairings for bread is honey. They work well together, as honey can provide excellent flavor, functionality and moisture to this product. Bakeries across the country experience this firsthand with their own unique varieties.

At Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, State St. Wheat has become a top seller. The hearth-baked sliced bread has just a few ingredients, including honey, wheat, olive oil, rye and sea salt. Freshly milled soft white wheat is combined with stone-ground, high-extraction hard red spring wheat flour. Then, the naturally leavened dough is mixed with a touch of honey and olive oil for a same-day fermentation.

The honey-based bread was developed as part of the Bread Lab Collective through something called the Approachable Loaf. The original formula was developed by Jeff Yankellow together with The Bread Lab, and while bakers are free to choose specific ingredients, decide how to package the finished product and what name to give the loaf, the loaf is characterized by these core values:

  • Baked in a tin and sliced.
  • Contains no more than seven ingredients
  • Contains no non-food
  • Is at least 60% whole wheat—preferably 100%
  • Priced under $6/loaf
  • 10¢ of every loaf sold returns to The Bread Lab to support further research of other whole grain products

Storytelling is a top product trend in 2020, according to Innova. The market research firm finds that 56% of global consumers say stories about a brand influence purchasing decisions. Few ingredients have a better story to tell than honey. The National Honey Board states that the story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and ever since, it's been used for food and so much more all over the world.

Earlier this year, the National Honey Board launched a video called “Celebrating Beekeeping: A Labor of Love,” providing a narrative of the beekeepers who ensure bees are healthy and honey flowing. Using this as your backdrop, you can tell the story of how your honey-based bread came to be. Not only will it provide an interesting explanation behind your featured loaf, but it will also give customers a reason to keep coming back for delicious bread.

For bakers with questions about formulating their next made-with-honey bread products, offers methods, tips and an explanation of honey’s benefits. This secret ingredient is versatile and wholesome, excelling in a variety of tasks.