What is winter without soothing, seasonal spices and a tightly covered loaf bread to wake up to on cold mornings? This gingerbread is soft and warming, great the day or two after it is made, and nicely punchy with a dash of heat from both fresh grated and ground ginger. Mellowed out by healthy doses of cinnamon and nutmeg, and amply moist from brown sugar and buttermilk, the top will get a nice slightly sticky crust from the brown sugar-molasses batter. The bread will work as one generous standard loaf or divvied up into four mini loaves, perfect for seasonal gifting and sharing. Enjoy it plain with a cup of coffee or tea or my favorite, with a slather of honey and mascarpone stirred together.
Happy baking : )
GINGERBREAD LOAF or LOAVES
1 1/2 cups Shop Rite Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Scant 1 Tbsp Shop Rite Ground Ginger
1 tsp Shop Rite Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Shop Rite Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Shop Rite Ground Cloves
1 heaping tsp Fresh Grated Ginger Root
1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 tsp Shop Rite Vanilla Extract
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 cup packed Shop Rite Dark Brown Sugar*
2 Shop Rite Eggs, preferably organic, room temperature
*I found I could reduce this just a hair–by a tablespoon or so.
Heat oven 350 degrees, rack in the middle. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans (disposable or metal) and line with parchment with a little overhang.
In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and set aside. Aerate and break up any clumps. In a cup or small bowl mix buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside. You can grate the little bit of fresh ginger right into this.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar, on medium speed until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in molasses until well combined. Add eggs one at a time beating until incorporated. Stop mixer, scraping down sides and paddle. Mixture will look a little curdled, no worries.
Add 1/3 flour mix, mixing on LOW just to incorporate. Add half the buttermilk, and once batter is smooth, add another 1/3 flour, then remaining buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated. Add remaining flour and mix until just incorporated and smooth.
Pour into prepared pan or pans. Bake small pans 38-45 minutes, larger for 45-60. A tester will come out of the center clean and the sides will be pulling away from the pan a bit. Try not to peak into the oven until the minimum time has passed to allow it to dome a little (they won’t dome as much as pumpkin or banana breads but not disrupting the bake will help it).
Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove and let cool completely. Keeps well stored at room temp a few days, tightly wrapped in plastic, or wrapped well frozen for later.
Recipe barely adapted from: www.chow.com.