bbd #04: Pfeffernussbrot – Pepper Spice Bread

Hey, hey – it’s already bread baking day #4! The theme chosen by bakinghistory is "Bread & Spices".

In Bavaria, where I live, rye breads with spices are quite common – usually they are flavoured with a special Brotgewürz (bread seasoning), often containing fennel, coriander and caraway. Unfortunately I’m not really fond of this bread, so I was looking for something different. 

Yesterday I was flipping through Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Bread when my eyes fell on a recipe for Pfeffernussbrot (pepper spice bread). Yes – very interesting idea! This recipe was handed down by Germans living in Russia, who had settled along the Volga and Black Sea at the invitation of German-born Catherine the Great – and it fits perfectly in this season where Christmas Cookies and Lebkuchen are baked in almost every family in Germany.

Spices for the bread

The spices: cinnamon, allspice, Lebkuchen-Gewuerz (a  spice mix containing cinnamon, orange peel, coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom which I substituted for Clayton’s aniseed) and freshly ground black pepper. Besides the spices some roughly chopped walnuts (or pecans) are added to the dough.

the preshaped balls

The preshaped balls for 2 braided loaves

the braided loaves

The braided loaves ready for rising

Pfeffernussbrot - pepper spice bread

The baked loaves. I brushed the right one with a little bit of milk before baking. This gives a shiny surface.

a slice of the bread

A slice from the bread. I was astonished how good the bread tasted! It isn’t too sweet and has a complex and seductive flavor with a slightly peppery aftertaste. The crumb is fluffy and soft, the crust a little bit crunchy.

Hinweis: Das Rezept auf Deutsch gibt es in meinem Brotkasten.

-========= REZKONV-Recipe – RezkonvSuite v1.4
Title: Pfeffernussbrot – Pepper Spice Bread
Categories: Bread, Spices
Yield: 2 Braided loaves


850 grams   Bread flour; approximately (5-6 c)
1 pack   Dry yeast
1 teasp.   Salt
100 grams   Sugar (1/2 c)
75 grams   Nonfat dry milk (1/2 c)
360 ml   Water
115 grams   Butter; room temperature (1/2 c, 1 stick)
2     Eggs
75 grams   Molasses (1/2 c, I used Zuckerrübensirup)
1 teasp.   Freshly ground black pepper
2 teasp.   Lebkuchen Gewuerz*
1/2 teasp.   Ground allspice
1/2 teasp.   Ground cinnamon
75 grams   Roughly broken walnuts (3/4 c)
      Milk; for brushing


  adapted from Bernard Clayton’s
  New Complete Book of Breads
  Edited *RK* 11/29/2007 by
  Petra Holzapfel


To make the sponge, in a mixer bowl measure 300 g (2 c) flour and add the yeast, salt, sugar and dry milk. Stir in the water to make a batter. Cover with plastic wrap and put aside at room temperaure to bubble and rise more than twice its original volume, about 2 hours.

To make the dough, uncover the sponge and stir in the butter, using the mixer. Add the eggs one at a time. Pour in the molasses, blend, and add the pepper and spices. Add the broken walnuts.

When all the ingredients have been added, stir in additional flour until the dough is a rough mass that can be lifted to the work surface – or left in the mixer bowl and kneaded under the dough hook.

Knead by hand or in the machine for 10 minutes (Kenwood 2/3) until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough in half. For braided loaves divide each ball in 3 parts. Preshape lightly into round and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape the balls into little logs. Start by rolling one piece of dough on the counter into as long rope, 35 cm (12-14 inches). Keep the rest covered while working with one-at-a-time. Taper both ends of each dough rope down so that they are narrower than the rest of the dough rope. Braid from the middle to one end, pinch to close and then turn the braid around and braid the other end. Place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Repeat for the second piece.

Cover the loaves and leave at room temperature until they are puffy and have doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

For a shiny bread brush with milk.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. The loaves should turn dark brown.

Remove the breads from the oven and let cool on a rack.

*Clayton uses 2 ts ground aniseed instead of Lebkuchen-Gewuerz. The Lebkuchengewuerz used here consists of cinnamon, orange peel, coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.


14 Antworten auf „bbd #04: Pfeffernussbrot – Pepper Spice Bread“

  1. Oh wie lecker!!!!!!!! Und, so schön geflochten, wow bravo!!!
    Ausserdem gefallen mir die Photos, trinke gerade Kaffee, wie kannst Du mir jetzt sowas vorsetzen, da ich zu faul bin, in die Boulangerie zu gehen……

  2. Hallo Claudia,
    kannst du hellsehen? Himbeer-Orange steht tatsächlich auf dem Frühstückstisch, aber auch Quitten-Wein-Gelee passt prima!
    Hallo Bolli,
    so eine Boulangerie in der Nachbarschaft würde mir aber durchaus gefallen. Ach, ich war schon viel zu lange nicht mehr in Paris…

  3. mhmmm, sehr schicke sache!
    ich mach mich in 1,5 stunden auf zum weihnachtsmarkt. mhhhhmmm, gestern war noch glühweinabend bei mir, fotos wurden gemacht, die sende ich dir dann zu 🙂
    liebe grüße ins andere zuhause!

  4. The Saturday Food Show 2007/12/01

    Are you busy baking cookies? I just found a cute video of Martha Stewart baking with the Cookie Monster on Youtube.
    The second part is even better – don’t miss this one
    Speaking of cooking videos, a friend pointed me to the website Imcooked

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