Saturday, December 12, 2009

Turkish Spice Bread II

Even though my last attempt at Turkish Spice Bread was pretty tasty, I knew I would be going back to the drawing board. The recipe I came up with was good, but it wasn’t as faithful to the bread we had in Turkey as I had hoped.

Last time, I omitted several key spices and honey. I hoped that adding these items this time around would give me something more “authentic.”

Of course, “authentic” in this case may be totally meaningless. For all I know, in Turkey what we had might be called “Slovakian Tea Cake” and bear no relationship to the native cuisine. But it was good. That was the main thing.

Version II of Turkish Spice Bread was much closer to the original than Version I. Yay for success! I used this recipe as a very loose inspiration, though honestly, about all I kept from it was the sugar/honey ratio.

This bread is dark, soft, moist, and densely spiced. If you don’t like heavy spice, you might want to dial back the amounts I suggest – I like strong flavor, but this actually gave me heartburn because it’s so rich. And yes, I’m a bit young for heartburn, but it runs in the family – I’ve suffered from it since I was a teenager.

The honey seems to really have improved the texture, as the bread was super moist even though I didn’t use any more butter than last time. I added orange zest to this to get some of the sweet, fruity flavor that I recalled from Turkey, and it really complemented the spice profile. If I can’t have this with rose jelly, the hint of orange baked in it creates the next best thing.

Turkish Spice Bread II

½ cup butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark brown, but either would be fine)
½ cup honey (I used orange blossom honey)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tablespoon orange zest (from one orange)
2 eggs
1 7-oz container plain Greek yoghurt (I used Fage 2%)

½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ground almonds or almond flour

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, almond extract, honey, and orange zest. Add eggs and yoghurt.

In separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, including spices and ground almonds. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until blended.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean

Printable recipe here. 


  1. This bread sounds lovely. It's interesting that honey has such a dramatic effect on the texture and moisture level of the bread. Will definitely add it the next time I make a quickbread. ...Susan

  2. Thanks! From now on, I think I'm going to use more honey in baking myself. :)