Tag Archives: spelt flour spice bread

Spice bread and watching a white hen unravel


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.


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


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.