Saturday 9 August 2014

Speculaas Fruited Bread

Recently I have been playing around with various dough's again. I had fallen out of the habit of making my own bread as I find it quite physical work and with my old joints routinely complaining it had gone on the back burner... however I have been trying new health foods and getting back into a more normal routine and my good friend C was complaining over how her bread had previously come out of the oven fit to tile the roof with, I decided it was time to dust off the dough slicer and get my hands floury again!

We had a lovely afternoon playing around with several different dough's on the go and fortunately C is now converted to home made bread and has made her own since this, with great success! Her only complaint is that the freshly baked smell is somewhat of a lure and magically disappears, I blame fairies personally.... I think with most things you have to get over the fear of things, easier said than done when anxiety follows you like an unwanted shadow but baking is very rewarding and excellent for getting the creative juices flowing and the soul some nourishment!

So whilst the white loaves and rolls were a success, they are not very exciting and whilst C was kneading her dough I decided to crack open a packet of Speculaas Spice mix, which was sent to me recently - it smells a little like what I expect heaven to be like! A fragrant burst of cinnamon, accompanied with fiery ginger notes and earthy cloves, among other secret spices that make me want to use it in pretty much everything I now bake! Its quite addictive to smell! 

Now whilst I had vaguely heard about Speculaas in the form of biscuits whilst on holiday some years back I really didn't know much more than that until Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company got in touch and offered the chance to try it out. I am all for trying out new herbs and spices, my bursting at the seams cupboards are proof alone that I have a problem addiction to new ones and I really can say I like this stuff a lot! Steven set up the company based on his Dutch grandmothers recipe after moving to UK and craving the favoured biscuits, scented with the sweet Speculaas, and I am jolly glad he did.

When developing this recipe I wasn't too sure how much to use - and erred on the side of caution but next time I would probably just go all out and add a whole tablespoon of the good stuff! I like to stick with a fairly white-ish bread mix with some added wholemeal flour, to add both colour and texture to the dough, plus fooling yourself into thinking its rather healthy, being wholemeal, cough cough.... I made two different shaped breads with the resulting dough, this being the winner upon vigorous taste testing. Its a hard life...

Speculaas Fruited bread
400g white strong flour
80g wholemeal strong flour
7g sachet easy yeast
½ tbsp Speculaas spice mix
320ml warmed milk
20g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
50g dried mixed fruit

2 tbsp milk
1 tsp Speculaas spice mix
1 tbsp Demerara sugar

This makes two loaves/ breads – one to keep, one to freeze unless you are feeding many people, in which case just cook all together.

Grease and line the base of two 8” sandwich tins

Sift together the flours, salt, and spice mix. Combine in a jug the vanilla, warm milk and yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir into the flour mixture until combined and knead for 10 minutes or until soft, smooth and elasticy. Place in a floured bowl and cover, rest in a warm place free from drafts until doubled in size. 

Knock the air out of the dough, halve. Take one half and stretch out into a rectangle about 1 cm deep and roughly A4 in size. Sprinkle over the fruit, allowing an inch from the edges and roll up tightly, a bit like a swiss roll. Then stretch lightly until its sealed and roll gently back and forth until snake like, roll up in a circular method, a bit like a Cumberland sausage and place in the prepared tin, pressing down to fill to the tin edges. Repeat with the remaining dough in the other pan.

Warm the 2 tbsp milk in a small pan and glaze both prepared dough's. Sprinkle over the sugar and spice mix. Allow to prove for a further 20 minutes or until nicely risen.

Bake in a hot oven – about 190o for 25-30 minutes, turn over and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow its ready! Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Though eaten warm with butter is most advisable.

We were too busy eating it warm to realise I had just this picture!

Disclaimer - I received a sample of Speculaas spice mix and no payment for this recipe and it remains the property of Anne's Kitchen and must not be reproduced without written consent. 
All opinions are my own.


  1. I loved this spice mix when I tried it. I can just imagine it in a fruit bread - delicious!

  2. That sounds and looks heavenly!!! Only problem is where can I get the spice mix? A friend of mine made eclairs filled with speculaas cream..which was also delicious!!!Am definitely a fan of anything speculaas!


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