Wednesday, 23 November 2011



The HBinFive Bakers are at it again.  We finished baking through the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book, but the fun didn’t stop there.  We decided to continue our bread-baking journey. We won’t be baking through another book, we’re just baking bread each month around a particular theme.

For November, Michele of BigBlackDogs, picked historical breads as the theme.  I love learning about the history of breads so I knew I would have fun with this one.  I had just the bread in mind, but didn’t receive the recipe in time so I’ll post about that one later.

In the meantime, I consulted one of my favorite books, “The History of Bread” by Bernard Dupaigne, to find another suitable recipe. I finally landed upon this Gingerbread recipe in the back of the book.

Gingerbread is said to have come to the attention of Philippe le Bon in Flanders, where he took such a liking to this ‘bee syrup cake’ that he brought the recipe back to Dijon. It is also found throughout Europe. Each region has its own recipe and traditional shape derived from popular legend or custom, such as the German Saint Nicholas or the little New Year piglet.”

- - Bernard Dupaigne The History of Bread

Although it has “bread” in the name, Gingerbread is traditionally considered a cake that requires neither kneading or leavening.  This recipe includes yeast and it’s in the back of a bread book, so I decided it fit the description of a historical bread.  Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Gingerbread Recipe



Makes: 1 large loaf

From: The History of Bread by Bernard Dupaigne


  • 7 ounces honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 ounces candied citrus peel or ginger (I used homemade candied orange peel)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded almonds, optional



Melt the honey, sugar, milk, and butter together over low heat.



Add the ground spices and grated lemon peel.



Add this mixture to the rye and wheat flour blended with the yeast. Mix thoroughly to obtain a homogeneous dough.



Blend in the citrus peel.



Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F.  Butter a loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom with shredded almonds.  Since I had a good bit of dough to work with, I decided to bake the Gingerbread in my Pullman pan.



Fill the pan with the dough and bake about 40 minutes. A knife blade inserted into the loaf should come out dry.



Cool to lukewarm temperature and unmold on a rack.



The gingerbread is best if stored for 48 hours before serving or eating.  That’s the hard part. 


This bread doesn’t contain any white flour so it is rather dense.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took a bite, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It tastes really good.  It reminds me a little bit of a fruit cake but not quite.  It has a very pleasing citrus flavor in almost every bite.  It tastes especially good with coffee or tea.

I think this Gingerbread would make a really nice gift for the Holidays. I plan on bringing some of it to the family get together on Thanksgiving since it keeps really well.  

Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog.  I hope you enjoy this historical bread.


Happy Baking!


No comments:

Post a Comment