The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is your favorite spice combo?

fupjack's picture

What is your favorite spice combo?

Specifically, what do you use as a flavor combination... that doesn't involve cinnamon?

My younger child does not like cinnamon, so I've been trying to come up with a combo that doesn't involve it.  Ginger, cardamom, and cloves seem to work, though it's really easy to overdo it on the cardamom.  I'm curious what else people have done; cinnamon, especially for bun and for anything with apples, is universal.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I like a bit of nutmeg with different fruit things (and with cheese, actually), and allspice comes in handy. Cardamom for sure.

pmccool's picture


The best I can describe the flavor, which isn't wholly correct, is floral variation of nutmeg.  Not surprising, since it is the dried tissue that originally surrounded the nutmeg. 

Coriander would bring a citrusy flavor to the mix. And don't forget black pepper, in small proportions.  It can help amplify some of the other flavors, if you don't add so much that the pepper flavor is discernible.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


chrysanthemum or camomile,




orange or grapefruit

any or a combination of 

herbs....  pineapple basil,  fresh sage, lavender,  rose, estragon, dill, oregano, lemon grass, rosemary, basil  

vegetables...  carrot, onion,  chives, scallions, tomatoes,  various bean pastes or green pea, pickles, peppers, 

crab apples, rhubarb, plums, berries, apricots, cherries


seeds...  pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, nut fillings or paste and more nuts,


peanut butter 

custards like vanilla or butterscotch


jams or preserves

The mind boggles with combinations and ideas.  

vlubarsky's picture

Years ago, Mini Oven turned me on to Bread Spice for Ryes, love it.  With sweet stuff I like garam masala and Chinese 5 Spice as well as allspice.  

Chocolate is awesome in small chunks in sourdoug!


fupjack's picture

Is that a commercial product?  Or do you mean this?

IceDemeter's picture

so incredibly individual that it's hard to recommend anything, but I gotta say that I love where Mini Oven was going with her suggestions!

For me, while I do sometimes enjoy cinnamon, my choice of spices really depends upon my mood and whether my taste buds are actually functioning (or if I'm in allergy / sinus mode and can't taste squat).  I tend to hang out in the pantry and sniff various spices to see if they smell like they would work well with what I'm cooking...  That's how I've ended up with apple and pear with tarragon and thyme, and orange cranberry with basil and rosemary, and I've found that sage goes well with a surprising number of fruits, and can work well with mint.

My favourites, however, are usually mixing flavours without necessarily using spices at all.  My current favourite rolled buns aren't cinnamon rolls - they are rolled with a mix of chopped dried dates / figs / apricots / prunes / raisins all soaked in Earl Grey tea.  My second favourite is dried apricots blended with apples and almond butter and almonds.  A mix of peanut butter or almond butter or hazelnut butter or whatever along with some finely chopped dried fruit is almost always good --- and adding in some seeds or other nuts for a bit of crunch is even better.

You might want to try just baking a mix of finely sliced apples and pears and butternut squash and raisins and dried figs with maybe a handful or two of fresh / frozen cranberries or sour cherries.  I put them in at 350 degrees for an hour, toss them around every 20 minutes or so, and then let them mostly cool.  I do a massive amount at a time, and package them in 200g packs in the freezer --- to use later as filling in buns or breads or hand-pies, or as a topping for a dessert pizza, or as a topping for yogurt or even a plain cheesecake.  The mix of flavours and textures always works well for me, and doesn't really NEED spices, but can certainly handle them when I'm in the mood.  Adding in some candied citrus peel or candied ginger can make it taste totally different, too.

As a non-spice "topping", I also recommend either a quite tart lemon curd (mine uses 60g confectioners sugar with 275g fresh lemon juice), or a lightly sweetened cream cheese (and mixing in some cocoa or coffee or almond extract or vanilla extract can make a massive difference).

Seriously - you might find that letting  your child sniff the various spices and herbs and tell you what smells "good" might be your best way forward.

Good luck, and happy spicing!

Richard C's picture
Richard C

Cumin is my and my wife's favourite.  Rosemary is also good for a more subtle, gentle flavour.