Honig-Johannisbrot Laib

(Loaf with St. John’s Bread

and Honey)

St. John's Bread

June 24: The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Islander sometimes gives up chocolate for Lent and substitutes carob in her recipes to satisfy her sweet tooth during the 40-day fasting period.

Curiously, carob powder or flour is referred to as St. John’s bread because the ground seed pods come from the honey locust tree. In the bible, Matthew 3:4 provides a description of the food that John the Baptist subsisted on while living in the wilderness: locusts and wild honey. But in Greek, the word for “locusts” may refer to carob pods instead of grasshoppers.

For our observance of the saint’s nativity, Islander baked a traditional German St. John’s bread called Honig-Johannisbrot Laib. While it looks a lot like a decadent chocolate dessert, this healthy carob loaf is naturally sweetened with honey—probably just the way St. John the Baptist would have liked it himself!


(Adapted from Cooking with the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf)


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon orange rind, grated
  • 2 tablespoons carob powder (for dusting)


Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, stir the honey with sesame oil. Gradually add the flour mixture. Combine the egg with the water and beat lightly. Pour into the batter and mix. Add the carob powder  and blend until the batter has a smooth, deep chocolate color.

St. John's Bread

Add the orange rind and mix until the batter is well incorporated. Spread the batter into a generously-buttered loaf pan. Dust the top with two tablespoons of carob powder. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 70 minutes, testing for doneness. Remove from the oven, cool the bread completely on a wire rack, slice and serve.

St. John's Bread


  • Feast days of St. John the Baptist are on January 7 (Eastern Orthodox Synaxis of the Forerunner), June 24 (nativity) and August 29 (beheading).
  • Search our blog for other recipes posts using carob as an ingredient.