Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mark’s Dutch Oven Spice Bread

I saw a recipe for “spice bread” online several months ago, and I’ve wanted to do this ever since.  I lost the recipe, but I had this general idea for the spices. 

I have to say that this is quite possibly the tastiest bread I’ve ever made.  It almost tastes like a cake.  I was really nervous about the spice mix.  I tried to sample it beforehand, but it’s tough to tell how it’ll turn out with the bread and the honey. 

Mark's Spice Bread in the Dutch Oven

12” Dutch Oven
17 coals above, 8 below for 350 degrees (in normal weather, more in cold)

  •     1 cup hot water
  •     1 Tbsp yeast
  •     3/4 cup honey

  •     4-5 cups flour, with probably about cup to be added during kneading
  •     A pinch of salt
  •     1 cups milk
  •     1 egg

  •     2 Tblsp olive oil
  •     2 tsp spice mix (made of ½ tsp each of Ground cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Paprika, Nutmeg, Dried ground ginger)

  •     An egg to coat the top

As with all of my breads, before making the bread, you should read my lens on dutch oven bread making to grok my processes (that’s GeekSpeek for “understanding how I do it”).

I started by activating the yeast in the water and honey.  I just let it sit for quite a while until it became frothy and bubbly.  I love the smell of yeast in the morning...

While that was frothing up, I played with the spice mix.  I didn’t really know what I was getting or anything, I just chose a bunch of spices that I knew or had read work well in sweet dishes, like apple pies or bananna breads or things like that.  I’d also read that oils can extract the flavors of spices, so after I’d mixed the spices up, I put a coupla teaspoons into the olive oil.  I tasted it, but I wasn’t sure if it would be enough spice to flavor a whole loaf of bread.

Then, once the yeast water was bubbly, I added the ingredients in the second set, and the oil/spice mix together, and stirred it all up.  From that point on, it was just a matter of kneading and raising and baking just like any other loaf of bread. 

I did know that I was on the right track, because I tasted a little pinch of the dough and it was goooooood. 

It was a little tricky to cook it out in the snow, but since I pre-heated the lid, it worked really well, and it baked in about 40 minutes.  I kind of overcompensated on the bottom heat, so the lower crust was a little thick.  The upper crust was nice, brown, and soft to the touch.  The crumb was tender and tasted a lot like a spice cake.  With a bit of butter, it was heaven.

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