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20110330

Spiced Bread Recipe

This recipe makes a traditional British home kitchen, yeast-based bread with a spicy touch that makes it strangely, and pleasantly different from the ordinary. If you are feeling less adventurous try substituting the spices with Cadbury Cocoa powder to make chocolate bread instead. Better still, make both.

Ingredients
  • 3 cups plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried baker's yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation
  • Make a yeast starter by dry mixing the yeast and sugar then stirring in 1 cup of moderately hot water.
  • Stir well and allow to stand in a warm place until the yeast solution develops a thick frothy head.
  • Dry mix the flour salt and spices, then add the activated yeast solution and stir thoroughly. Slowly add enough water to obtain a firm dough.
  • Thoroughly knead the dough, working it well to make sure plenty of gluten is released. When the dough is ready it will be quite elastic.
  • Cover and stand in a warm place to rise (at least a half hour).
  • Knead again then place in a loaf tin and bake at 350F for about a half hour.
  • Test the bread by tapping on its base; if you hear a hollow, knocking sound it is ready.
  • Turn off the oven and allow the bread to cool slowly in the oven
John's Notes
I broke a couple of bread making rules in this recipe and I got away with it. To begin with, I fed the yeast with sugar to get it working very strongly and quickly. Then I baked the risen dough right after its second kneading without allowing it to rise again. My thinking was that my rapidly frothing yeast was working like gangbusters already and would do its job without proofing the bread a second time. I was right; as you can see from the picture, my bread rose perfectly well in the oven and had a great texture.

I used double the amount of nutmeg called for in this recipe, but I found that was probably a little too much. Nutmeg can act like a mild stimulant if taken in excess.Strangely, I did feel unusually perky after eating a couple of slices of my bread with butter and marmalade for breakfast. Enjoy my recipe ... but not too much please.

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