Raised Gingerbread Loaf

raised-gingerbread-loaf-from-the-rowdy-bakerThis is definitely not your Grandma’s gingerbread! It’s a tender, rich yeast bread with the fragrance and flavor of spicy gingerbread…just not as sweet. (Don’t expect cake.)

And oh, my, does it toast well! When I took my first bite of a toasted slice, I immediately thought of cinnamon raisin bread, with a delectable hint of Boston brown bread. I love them both, so I was very pleased with the outcome.raised-gingerbread-loaf-toasted-the-rowdy-baker

I sure hope you like raisins, because they really make this bread special. Since the dough isn’t overly sweet, those little sugary bits of raisins add interest to the finished loaf. You could successfully substitute any chopped, dried fruit though, for a similar effect.

Can you imagine the French toast it made? C’est délicieux!gingerbread-french-toast

The recipe makes two loaves of bread, or you can make one loaf and turn the other half of the dough into Gingerbread Sticks! Half of the dough will make 20 long sticks or 40 short ones. You may want to go for the short variety for two reasons: They are fairly soft (especially the next day), so the short ones are sturdier. And, if you offer my Orange Cream Cheese Dip with the long sticks, you’re going to get the dreaded double-dipping!


So. Warm slices slathered in butter, toast (my personal favorite), French toast, or Gingerbreadsticks. Pretty versatile! I don’t think it would be your go-to bread for a ham and cheese sandwich, but still…lots of good reasons to make a batch.

Raised Gingerbread Loaf
Makes two loaves or one loaf and 20 long (or 40 short) Gingerbreadsticks.
  • 1 cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • ⅔ cup molasses
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 6+ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, scald the milk. (Heat just until it gets bubbly all around the edge.) Remove from heat and whisk in the molasses, butter, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and brown sugar.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, stir in the buttermilk. Allow mixture to cool until lukewarm.
  3. In a small bowl combine ½ teaspoon sugar and warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow the mixture to sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the lukewarm molasses mixture and yeast mixture. Add eggs and combine.
  5. Using a dough hook (or sturdy wooden spoon if beating by hand) stir in 6 cups of the flour and beat for 3 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Add raisins. Slowly add flour as necessary, a couple of tablespoons at a time, just until dough comes cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Knead by machine or by hand for 2 additional minutes.
  6. Dough will be sticky; it will be more manageable after it has risen. Dump dough into well greased bowl, tossing to cover surface. Cover with a towel and allow dough to rise until double. THIS WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL, because the dough is so sweet and rich. It can take up to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  7. Punch dough down. Divide into two pieces. Shape into loaves and place in well greased (or spray the pans with Baker's Joy) loaf pans. Cover with towel and let rise again until almost doubled.
  8. Heat oven to 375 F. When preheated, cut a shallow slice along the top of each loaf and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven, brush the top of each loaf with butter for a pretty shine, and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  9. To make Gingerbreadsticks, roll ½ of the dough out to approximately 12-inches by 18-inches. Cut into 20 long strips. If you'd like shorter sticks (they're easier to handle) cut down the middle for 40 short strips. Place on parchment or slightly greased baking sheet. Allow to rise for at least 1 hour. They won't double in size, but should be light and puffy. Brush with an egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 12-14 minutes.

Combine yeast and molasses mixtures, then add eggs.

Combine yeast and molasses mixtures, then add eggs.

Add flour. Not too much - this should be a sticky dough!

Add flour. Not too much – this should be a sticky dough!

It's a little sticky. Grease your bowl and your hands and toss the dough to coat it completely. Let it rise.

It’s a little sticky. Grease your bowl and your hands and toss the dough to coat it completely. Let it rise.

Form loaves.

Form loaves, let them rise (it can take up to 2 hours for a sweet dough like this) and bake.

Swipe a little butter on the hot bread for a pretty shine.

Swipe a little butter on the hot bread for a pretty shine.

Or make Gingerbreadsticks.

Or make Gingerbreadsticks.

Brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking.

Brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking.

I like to dip the Gingerbreadsticks in whipped cream, but for a little more flavor, make this easy Orange Cream Cheese Dip:  Beat together 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons concentrated orange juice. When smooth and creamy, gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar. Dip away!

Wait until you smell this dough baking! Mmmmmm.



8 thoughts on “Raised Gingerbread Loaf

  1. OK, I made the bread. I ate it warm. I ate it cold. I toasted it. I even French toasted it. Put butter on it. Put nut butter on it. Put maple syrup on it.

    It’s amaaaazing any way you slice it! It’s bread, but it tastes like gingerbread. It rises nicely. It’s forgiving: I only had soy milk and vegan Earth Balance butter-spread, and they worked fine in the dough.

    You should have saved this for your cookbook — how are you going to top this??

  2. Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it. For me, it took forever to rise (as I expected). Like a 3 hour first proof and then 3 hours once shaped in the bread pan, and it still wasnt high enough. My yeast is viable, that wasn’t the problem. The bread came out tasty but very very dense. I want to experiment with the recipe and next time use SAF Gold yeast that is supposed to be used for sweet enriched doughs. I definitely want a lighter fluffier crumb. I am also wondering if I halve the cinnamon it will rise better. Will also add cardamom, and more raisins. Have you used the gold yeast in sweet breads? Thanks!

    • Thanks for commenting, Valerie! Hmmm . . . I’m scratching my head about this. I haven’t made the bread in a while, and I know it takes longer to rise, but it didn’t take mine THAT long. And you can see from the top photo, it wasn’t too dense. It actually was quite light. I’m not sure what happened, unless it was the yeast you used. Gold yeast is an instant yeast, and I used active-dry yeast in this recipe. Instant yeast is used differently – added to the flour – so if you used instant yeast it could have made a difference. Hope you’ll try it again!

    • I don’t see why not. Bet they’d make a great ham sandwich. (Sorry it took me so long to answer, Leah. I locked myself out of my blog page!)

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