Yesterday morning was amazing.
The fog was mysterious.
It felt like we were on English moors, except with trees.
Autumn is here...
So I had to bake something.
This is a slight adaptation of the version in Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. In her recipe, the author uses 1 cup each of white and whole wheat flours. I tried that the first time I made it: the bread was so tough and rubbery that I could have dribbled it up our driveway and down the street to neighbor's basketball hoop for a game. More than likely, I just over-mixed it, or French whole wheat flour is better than its American counterpart (wouldn't the French just love to gloat if that were true?). (And Clotilde, my hero, if you are reading this, know that I am a Francophile of the highest order!) As I type this, the bread is still in the oven, so I am hoping that switching out the flour will solve the problem...
But the house smells amazing!
Honey Spice Loaf
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup honey (grease the measuring cup with a bit of oil; the honey will slide right out)
1/3 cup dark molasses (grease the cup again)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 cup finely diced candied ginger
1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel, or a mixture of the two
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan with oil, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Combine the milk, honey, and molasses in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and heat the mixture without boiling, stirring with a spatula until dissolved. Set aside and let cool as you proceed with the recipe.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, combine the ginger and/or orange peel, if using, with 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture and set aside.
4. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk mixture slowly and whisk in a circular motion, starting from the center, until all the flour has been incorporated--the batter will be thin. Fold in the ginger and/or orange peel, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
5. Transfer to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the loaf, and unmold. Let cool completely, wrap in foil, and rest at room temperature until the next day. (The author suggests that the flavors "bloom" overnight.)