I had a HUGE hankering for some good ol’ fashioned wheat bread. Unfortunately, I don’t have any wheat bread recipes, so I made a quick trip to the (best ever) library. I snagged a copy of Country Breads of the World by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake. WHAT A BOOK!
What I ended up making was Pain d’epices, or Spiced Bread. Not really realising how much honey is in the recipe, it was MUCH sweeter than I wanted, but the result was beautiful. I added some seed mixture I thought would be interesting, and have been snacking on it, bit by bit, ever since. I’ve also given out a few loaves to friends, since I baked them in ramekins and flower pots.
Just look at the quality of that crumb! The end result is a spicy, delicate crumb with a lot of natural clover sweetness. No need for butter or any kind of spread, the bread is perfect all on its own! And the seed mixture adds just the right amount of crunch…… here’s the recipe, adapted from the above-mentioned book:
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used bleached… shame on me!)
1 cup rye flour (I didn’t have rye, so I used unbleached whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cloves, and quatre epices (a mixture of seven parts ground black pepper to one part each cloves, ginger, and nutmeg)
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup honey, slightly warmed
2 egg yolks
5 tbsp milk
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup each: poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, blanched almond slivers, pumpkin seeds, oats, and flax seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Sift the flour, salt, spices, and baking powder into a powl. Stir in the almonds. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, milk, and egg yolks, then add to the flour mixture to make a sticky cake batter. Spoon into the prepared pan (or flower pots, or ramekins) and bake until gold brown, roughly 45 minutes (about 30 minutes for the ramekins/flower pots). Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Heat the sugar in the milk until dissolved, then simmer for 1-2 minutes to make a sticky glaze. Brush this over the hot loaf, and let the bread cool until you can handle it comfortably, then ENJOY!