08 December 2009

Ginger Bread

Josie and her ginger bread
I thought it would be fun to play with the concept of gingerbread this year.  Instead of a traditional cakey or cookie-like dough, I decided to make an actual bread.  I started with a basic 25% wheat, 75% white flour formula then I added spice...heavy on the ginger, a little cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg and clove.  Finally, I chopped candied ginger and I dumped a few handfuls of raisins into the mix.  I shaped the dough into logs and scored a straight line down the center.  I was pretty happy with the way it came out but it was missing something.  Then I remembered the jar of black strap molasses I had hiding under my work station.  It's been there since I was pregnant. I used to put a tablespoon in a glass of milk for extra calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron in order to remedy my crampy legs.  Betcha didn't molasses was so good for you!  

Back to the bread....the 2nd batch I mixed included the molasses and now I'm content.  There's an extra richness.  It has the gingerbread flavors with a bread texture.  I can't believe I forgot the molasses on the first go as this is the base for most gingerbread cakes and cookies.  I also changed the shape a bit.  Instead of logs, I twisted the dough into turbins or spirals.  This makes for larger, softer slices.   Next mix I will be replacing the raisins with currants because a) it will make it a little more delicate b) those currants are tiny but they pack a big punch of flavor and c) I have a huge box of them in storage!

I brought a loaf home from the bakery on Sunday, hoping to share it with my family.  Yesterday morning, Josie and I ate the whole thing before Kevin even saw it.  Whoops!  Guess I'll have to make another batch so he can get a taste too.  I was going to toast it because it was a day old (yes, I'm spoiled) but it didn't require any heat to bring out all the flavors.  The best part about the bread is the little bits of candied ginger that melt in your mouth with every couple of bites.  I'm so excited about this bread...a holiday treat without the sweet.  The sweet, hopped up on sugar and butter, candied loaves of holiday tradition wear me out after a while.  I can only eat so much candied citrus peel before I'm ready for the fun to be over.

After a conversation with Mark and Christian, we decided to make this bread part of our line-up through the holidays.  It will be available at the Patisserie on Thursdays and Sundays through December.

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