This version of a famous French spice bread is a compact loaf that anchors its reputation on anise, cinnamon, honey, almonds, citron, orange peel and 3 tablespoons of rum. Slice when cool and spread with butter and honey. It is even better the second or third day.
- 1 1⁄4 cups hot tap water (120 F 130 F)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3⁄4 cup honey
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 1 teaspoon ground aniseed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons chopped blanched almonds
- 2 tablespoons chopped citron
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- BAKING PANS: One large loaf pan (9 x 5), greased or Teflon, or two small (7 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch) pans. Metal or glass. If the latter, reduce oven heat 25 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl pour water and add sugar, honey, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Stir until it is dissolved. Mix in the rum, anise seed and cinnamon.
- Measure flour into a large mixing bowl and pour in the liquid—stirring slowly but thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Drop in the almonds, citron and orange peel. Stir several times to mix throughout the batter. Preheat oven to 450°F Butter the tins and line with wax paper or parchment paper. Butter again.
- Pour the batter into the tin or tins. With a rubber scraper or spoon form a shallow depression down the center of the loaf, with the batter slightly higher along the sides. This will compensate for the rise of the center during baking.
- Place the bread in a very hot oven for 10 minutes; REDUCE the heat to moderate (350 F)for an additional 50 or 60 minutes. The loaf will test done when a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry.
- Remove bread from the oven. Turn the tins on their sides and carefully pull out the loaves by tugging gently on the wax paper. Let the loaves cool (preferably overnight) before slicing thinly. Makes 1 large or 2 small.
- The Complete Book Of Breads.Bernard. Clayton, Jr.
Absolutely delicious! I omitted the rum and citron and doubled the aniseed and orange peel. A very tasty and dense bread, perfect with just butter.
All of my friends' loved the bread. They said it was nice and tasteful. As for me, I loved the smell of it cooking and the batter taste good.. But when I tasted it, it seemed too thick and the 3/4 cup of honey seemed too much.. The Citron gave it a weird taste too.. I would make it again but with little less honey and no citron, orange instead.
This is a delicious, spicy bread! It smelled wonderful while cooking and baked to a beautiful brown. You're right about the honey butter - it's great with this dense and flavorful bread!