Homestead Gingerbread

Here’s a recipe for a less-sweet gingerbread with bare-bones spices and minimal dishes to wash. Add whatever nuts, chocolate chips, or fruit toppings you fancy.
I’ve tried: Cranberries studded on top, chopped walnuts, peanuts (strong flavor; walnuts are better), and chocolate chips.
I didn’t include allspice or nutmeg, typically in gingerbread recipes, as I don’t find those necessary.

Yield: About 8 slices, from a 9-inch round pan

Ingredients:

  • 200g flour (all-purpose or whole wheat OK)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 teaspoon ground ginger (add more if you like spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • half stick (or 55g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 55g sugar
  • 120mL molasses, dark unsulfured
  • 160mL boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • Toppings: chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, fruit

Directions:

Mix Sweet + Wet ingredients First, then add in Dry.

  1. Pour 55g sugar and 120mL molasses into mixing boil.
  2. Boil water
  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe cup for about 20 seconds
  4. Pour butter into mixing boil, then pour boiling water into the cup to clean it out.
  5. Whisk items in bowl. When warm (cooled down), add eggs and whisk.
  6. Whisk 200g flour, 1 teasp baking soda, 1/2 teasp salt, 2.5 teasp ginger, 1 teasp cinnamon into the wet ingredients.
  7. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips and any toppings. Whisk till combined, no lumps.
  8. Bake at 350’F for 25-30 minutes.
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Awaken the bread machine!

Last year, I received a bread machine from a neighbor who had previously received it from another neighbor. It sat unused for years at her home so she passed it on. Alas, the tradition continued as it sat on my shelf for many months, yearning for yeast and flour.

I resolved that 2023 was going to be different. I would awaken this bread machine from its deep slumber.

Also, I jogged with a friend along the lake, and we chatted about schmalzkuchen (German beignets), sourdough, and this bread machine. Thank you to this friend for sharing the joy of running and making bread!

Here is a 1 pound loaf, which is the smallest size possible with this machine. The machine kneaded away my fears with its automatic mixing, gentle heat application as the dough rose (proofing), and finally the actual baking. It took 2.5 hours from start to finish with very little hands on and cleaning effort. This cube loaf is chewy and tastes like normal bread! The crust is a little tougher through than store-bought loaves, but I will eventually figure out how to amend this. The yield is a perfect amount for me to enjoy in one week, 1 to 2 half slices per day as part of breakfast or a snack with vegan butter and homemade invasive blackberry jam.

Also: The proofed dough is an exquisite texture that I highly recommend patting. Far better than a baby’s bum!

I was curious…
How much did this 1 pound loaf of homemade bread cost?

IngredientGrams in packageCost of packageCost/gramGrams in loafCost for loaf
Water240g (1 cup)$00240g$0
Olive Oil (organic)1832$15.99$0.00872828g$0.24
Honey
(organic, raw)
2040$19.99$0.00979930g$0.29
Salt453$2.00$0.0044158g$0.04
All-Purpose Flour
(organic, 5 lb bag)
2268$3.49$0.001539300g$0.46
Active Yeast (2 lb)908$7.49$0.0082494.2g
1.5 teaspoons
$0.03
Sunflower Seeds, Toasted, Unsalted, Shelled454$2.99$0.00658660g$0.40
1 Loaf Total670.2g
(about 1 lb)
$1.47
Note: All ingredients were from Costco except for the flour (Grocery Outlet) and Sunflower Seeds (Trader Joe’s).

So I made 1 week’s worth of organic bread for just 147 cents! Definitely a tasty and inexpensively repeatable activity. Next time I will mix sunflower seeds into the dough (I love seed-rich, “bird food” bread) and maybe use a third or half whole wheat flour for more nuttiness.

*Update February 19, 2023*
I’ve now made this recipe 4 times. By happy accident, I discovered that doubling the honey from 15g to 30g somehow produced a softer, chewier bread (did not dry out as quickly) without noticeable sweetness. I also add 60g of sunflower seeds which gets mixed into the dough and gives nice texture. Trader Joe’s has the best value on these. The final bread weight is lighter than adding all the raw ingredients due to water evaporating as it bakes.

If you have a bread machine, you can follow the Ingredient + Grams in Loaf columns to get the recipe. I poured the ingredients in this order (top to bottom) in the Breadman Plus machine.