In Bavaria, where I live, rye breads with spices are quite common - usually they are flavoured with a special Brotgewürz (bread seasoning), often containing fennel, coriander and caraway. Unfortunately I'm not really fond of this bread, so I was looking for something different.
Yesterday I was flipping through Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread when my eyes fell on a recipe for Pfeffernussbrot (pepper spice bread). Yes - very interesting idea! This recipe was handed down by Germans living in Russia, who had settled along the Volga and Black Sea at the invitation of German-born Catherine the Great - and it fits perfectly in this season where Christmas Cookies and Lebkuchen are baked in almost every family in Germany.
The spices: cinnamon, allspice, Lebkuchen-Gewuerz (a spice mix containing cinnamon, orange peel, coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom which I substituted for Clayton's aniseed) and freshly ground black pepper. Besides the spices some roughly chopped walnuts (or pecans) are added to the dough.
The preshaped balls for 2 braided loaves
The braided loaves ready for rising
The baked loaves. I brushed the right one with a little bit of milk before baking. This gives a shiny surface.
A slice from the bread. I was astonished how good the bread tasted! It isn't too sweet and has a complex and seductive flavor with a slightly peppery aftertaste. The crumb is fluffy and soft, the crust a little bit crunchy.
Hinweis: Das Rezept auf Deutsch gibt es in meinem Brotkasten.