Tag Archives: spelt flour spice bread

Spice bread and watching a white hen unravel

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Have you ever seen a hen unravel? I hadn’t, but I have now. A friend (I use the term loosely in hindsight) gave us four hens last week. When I say hens, obviously I mean butch, feathered, street-wise ladettes hell-bent on stealing the others’ food, staying up all night and generally causing mayhen (sorry!). Our white ‘head’ hen was not amused by their arrival and ‘greeted’ them with firmly-closed wings. As soon as she caught sight of them, she strutted purposefully over to the kitchen, squawking loudly until I opened the window. When I explained that it was OK, they had been invited, she wandered off for a mad, muttering walk on her own in the woods, head between wings. Even now, a week later, she comes to check with me everyday that these ruffians are still welcome and spends more time than usual on her perch, disdainfully looking down at them.

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This spice bread is deliciously soothing, which is useful when you’re trying to console a hen with a grievance.

Ingredients

500g raw honey

250g spelt flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cardammon seeds

Zest of 1 lemon

2 free-range eggs, beaten

100ml milk

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Dissolve the yeast in two tablespoons of lukewarm water and set aside. Gently warm the honey, spices and zest until very runny (about 3 minutes). Place the flour in a mixing bowl, leaving a well in the middle. Add the yeast and then the beaten eggs and milk to the well, followed by the honey and spice mixture. Beat until you obtain a smooth, liquid dough. Transfer to a 1kg greased loaf tin and cook for 1 hour 15 mins. Cover the tin with aluminium foil once it is golden brown. It is best to leave the bread in a tin to rest at room temperature for at least three days before eating.

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