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20110217

How to Bake Spiced Sweet Bread

This is quite an easy recipe to make if you don't mind spending a couple of pleasant hours in the kitchen. The end result is a pleasantly unusual bread that tastes great with a slice of ham or even just spread with soft butter. The recipe was inspired by, and similar to, a recipe found on www.greneboke.com and is believed to have originated in the 16th Century. Here is how I made my spiced sweet bread.

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Spice

Preparation
  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and leave in a warm place to activate the yeast
  • Warm the egg yolks, milk, butter and spice in a small saucepan until the mix just begins to thicken. Be sure to remove from the heat before the egg sets in the liquid
  • Mix the flour and sugar together and beat in the yeast, then add the egg mixture
  • Knead to form a stiff dough, adding water or flour as necessary to make a dry, stiff dough
  • Leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size
  • Knead the dough again and shape into a loaf or cut into rolls and leave the dough for a little longer to rise again
  • Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes
John's Notes
What spice to use? I used cardamom because it has a delicate, sweet flavour but cinnamon, nutmeg or even mace would work well too. I have the advantage of an electronically controlled range with a bread proofing oven and a "Bread" setting for the main oven. I am sure the same fine result could be obtained, with a little care, using a regular oven.

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