Thursday, 15 December 2016

Spicy!

After the last article I was asked what Lebkuchen spice is or rather what it is composed of. The professional bakers all have their own spice mix which is a well kept secret. Apart from that there are also regional differences, so the choice is not easy for the home baker. Ready-made spice mixes are now available but not in every part of the world. So I did some research and came up with my own version.

In order to get the best out of spices one should preferably buy whole spices instead of ground because they keep their flavour and aroma for a much longer time. Some spices like cinnamon and ginger are acceptable ground because generally they are used more frequently.

Another important factor is the ratio of each spice in relation to the others. Some spices are so strong in flavour that only a little is used in order not to overpower the rest.

Let me show you the spices I used:
From top to bottom on the left side:
ground cinnamon
ground ginger
whole cardamoms (only seeds are  used)
whole cloves
From top to bottom centre:
whole nutmeg
whole allspice (pimento)
who;e star anise
fennel seeds
From top to bottom on the right:
mace
ground coriander (I ran out of seeds)
ground pepper

Quantities for whole spices should at least be double of what is needed when ground. Remember to calculate well. I shall give you the amounts needed when ground to a fine powder.
cinnamon               2 Tbsp
ginger                     1/2 tsp
cardamoms
(seeds only)            1/2 tsp
cloves                      2 tsp
nutmeg                    1/4 tsp
allspice                    1/2 tsp
star anise                  1/2 tsp
fennel                       1/2 tsp
mace (blades)           a generous pinch
coriander                 1/2 tsp
pepper                      1/4 tsp.

The first five spices listed are essential to the mix, but adding the others will really enhance the complexity of flavours. But if you do not fancy a particular spice you can omit it or substitute for one with similar taste, e.g. fennel seeds for aniseed. 

To make up your batch of Lebkuchen spice put all the whole spices in a dry frying pan, after calculating and measuring,
 and fry on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and allow to cool. When cool place in spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. If the quantity is too small to be processed properly add the already ground spices like cinnamon and ginger to help with the processing. 

I hope you enjoy making this, so you can create your own personalized Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen!




2 comments:

  1. This is great! Now how can I make cupcakes using this spice mix?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I should think a regular recipe will do, but instead of vanilla or other flavouring you add 1 teaspoon of this spice mix. Let me know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete

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