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Pain d’épices

Pain d’epices

About a month ago, my dear friend K. and I were chatting about food and what we had been cooking/baking recently and she told me she was experimenting with different pain d’epices recipes, her son, the sous-chef was a great help too! It was actually his idea in the first place.

So, she sent me the recipe she made and we started exchanging recipes back and forth and after making more than half a dozen of pain d’epices in a very short period of time, trying different amounts of rye (all the way from 100% to none), with and without eggs, whole milk, goat’s milk, soy milk, only honey, some honey and some agave syrup, only agave syrup, I am now confident we have a keeper.

The process was a lot of fun and the house smelled great day and night. The recipe below produces a pain d’epice that is spicy but definitely not too spicy, mildly sweet with the honey and fragrant with the orange zest and orange blossom water. Experiment, add what you like, or omit what you don’t like. The texture remains the same but the flavour improves significantly by the second day as the flavours get a chance to meld.

In the middle ages, pain d’epices was made without leavening; the mixture was kept in wooden containers to ferment for months before baking.

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup rye flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp anis seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • zest of 1 orange


Preheat the oven to 350F, butter and flour a loaf pan, set aside. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl mix with a whisk to combine, in another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet mixture and mix with a spatula until combined.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about an hour or a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean, let it cool to room temperature, cover tightly with plastic wrap and wait at least a day before slicing.

Serve with butter and honey.


10 comments to Pain d’épices

  • Bol baharatlı tam sevdiğim gibi bir tarif olmuş Megi.
    Deneyeceğim ama evde çavdar unum yok. Onun yerine başka bir un kullansam olur mu bilemedim?
    Ellerine sağlık, sevgiler.

  • LindenTea

    Merhaba Asli, tesekkurler, sadece bugday unu ile de yapmak mumkun, umarim hosunuza gider. :)

  • What a wonderful experiment and it sounds as though you found the perfect balance of spices and sweetness.

  • LindenTea

    Thank you Cookin’ Canuck, it was a lot fun. :)

  • This is the best bread recipe I’ve ever done. It’s not just for the breakfast. You can eat this bread every time you want. I strongly advice everyone to try. It’s delicious and wonderful. Thanks for this recipe Megi.

  • LindenTea

    Thank you so much for your comment Asli. I am so glad you tried and liked it. I agree, it’s not just for breakfast! :)

  • It’s a lovely fall afternoon here, so I decided to try baking this bread (the flavors say autumn to me!). It’s in the oven right now.

    I’ll come back to report on the flavor later on, but I wanted to let you know that a couple of pieces of info are missing from the recipe:
    1) I assume that it should be 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda (but it doesn’t say).
    2) You didn’t give an oven temp., but I’m baking the bread at 350ºF.

    As promised, the kitchen smells wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

  • LindenTea

    Katie, I am so sorry for the mistakes, what a sloppy job on my part, all the assumptions are correct though, it’s 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda and it is baked at 350F.

    Thank you Katie, all the mistakes are now fixed thanks to you! I love the crisp, fresh air in the fall and somehow this bread really matches that weather. :)

  • No problem, Megi. It happens to the best of us. :)

    I really enjoyed the bread – it’s different and so aromatic! I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit with the flavor combinations. Thanks again for your post.

  • LindenTea

    Thank you for letting me know you tried it Katie, I think playing with the ingredients give the best result and I really recommend toasting it. :)

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