The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gingerbread Bread

breadsong's picture

Gingerbread Bread

Hello, I've gone gingerbread-crazy this year it seems. I decided I wanted to take those flavors and try to get them into a loaf of bread.
Here are the pics (not the greatest photos) (this first loaf made with regular instant yeast):

This was the second batch (6 loaves @ 350g, 2100g total dough, made with osmotolerant yeast):
(I updated my process below, when making this second batch).

Here is my formula, for a 500g loaf:

I mixed the sponge and let it ferment at 80F for 7 hours.
I combined the sponge with the dough water (holding back 12g of dough water, based on the weight of espresso powder, cocoa powder, & the three spices).
(I found a pastry blender worked really well for cutting up the sponge into smaller pieces, then a dough whisk finished dissolving and mixing the sponge into the water.)
I mixed in the honey, molasses and oil, then flour, sugar and yeast.
I let autolyse for 20 minutes, added salt and remaining water.
I folded and worked the dough on the counter, until almost at improved mix.
I kneaded in the espresso powder, cocoa powder, & the three spices, and continued kneading until improved mix.
Bulk ferment at 80F for 2 hours, stretch and fold every 40 minutes.
Divide, preshape, rest 20 minutes, shape, into banneton to proof.
(I found the loaves had a more rounded shape if when I proofed them in the fridge).
Loaves proofed for about 40 minutes.
Floured the top, scored, baked in a 440F oven for 15 minutes.
Took loaf out of oven, brushed top with a bit of water, applied gingerbread man (made with a bit of decorative 'dead' dough).
Baked for another 10 minutes or so, at 420F.

We had some for breakfast this morning...and I was really happy with the flavor. There is some sweetness to this bread and we thought it was good, toasted with butter.

I've got another batch on the go for today, to make as gifts for coworkers.

Happy Christmas baking everyone! from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting, for Susan's Holiday Edition :^)


bnom's picture

Very clever breadsong. Im sure you'll be popular with your coworkers!

breadsong's picture

Thank you - I hope everyone likes this bread. I'm making some gingerbread biscotti too, as a backup plan!!! - breadsong

SylviaH's picture

Holiday baking!  Mmmmlove gingerbread, cute little gingerbreadman touch on your bread!


breadsong's picture

Hi Sylvia, This is some leftover Pate Morte from Mr. Hamelman's book 'Bread'.
I misjudged how much to make originally, and froze the extra. I thawed some for this little gingerbread man, and after thawing it rolled out just as nicely as when freshly made. The stencilling is a little off-kilter but hopefully the next batch will come out a little straighter...   Thanks! from breadsong

wally's picture

Real gingerBREAD, what an idea!  One thing I can pass on: I'm told that the ph of cocoa is not a good thing for yeast, so you might consider in your next attempt adding the cocoa during the last two minutes of your mix to minimize problems.


breadsong's picture

Larry, Thanks for writing and for this very helpful advice about pH. I'd read somewhere too that cinnamon can interfere with yeast, so I might hold back on both the spices and the cocoa until the end of mixing as you suggest, as see if this helps for this next batch. And make sure I grab the right type of yeast out of the fridge this time! 
Thanks, from breadsong

louie brown's picture
louie brown

The tops look very festive, too. I also like Plan B!

breadsong's picture

Hi louie, I'm glad you liked the bread! My co-workers' kids were happy with the little gingerbread men!!! 
Here's a link to the Plan B recipe...these are good cookies...coworkers got some of these, too...  from breadsong

Franko's picture

What gorgeous breads breadsong!

Is this a formula you developed yourself, because if it is, you nailed it. Traditional style gingerbread, cake or cookie, is one of my all time favourites, so this sounds amazing to have it as a yeasted version. I'm just imagining what it must taste like toasted with a little butter...maybe some honey as well. Great job, and thanks for sharing the recipe.


breadsong's picture

Thanks so much! The bread is really nice toasted. This was my first formula! I used as reference three different formulas - a Pumpernickel by Rose Levy Beranbaum that uses cocoa and espresso powder, and a couple of other formulas from Advanced Bread and Pastry. If you make it, I hope you like it. I'm going to make more, as part of Christmas gifts for family...!  from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hi Franko, I just remembered I've got a Cinnamon Honey Butter that I make sometimes, that's really good on pancakes, and toast!:
- equal parts softened unsalted butter and honey
- cinnamon to taste
(recipe is 2 teaspoons cinnamon to 1 cup butter+1 cup honey, this makes quite a lot!)
- from breadsong



Franko's picture

mmmmmm! That sounds like just the ticket for your gingerbread bread. Thanks for sending that along.


Daisy_A's picture

Hi breadsong,

These look delicious. What a cheering sight!

Best wishes, Daisy_A

breadsong's picture

It was fun to try this - wasn't sure if I was going to be able to pull it off!
I have a paper punch that punches out a smiley face, so was able to create a stencil for the happy faces on the gingerbread men. So glad you liked them!
from breadsong