Lately I’ve been craving baked goods with caraway seeds. It could be the colder weather and the thought of fresh bread baking in the oven. It could also be the recent trip to the spice store that prompted me to purchase an item that I don’t currently have. I could wander Penzeys in Menlo Park and sniff and smell the samples for hours. I love how you can take a whiff of several different cinnamon or black peppercorn varieties before purchasing. Many of their spices come in different varieties from different locales, demonstrating how geography plays a key role in a spice’s flavor profile, heat level, etc.
The caraway flavor is very subtle in this recipe. The seed provides more of an herbal, parsley note rather than a heavy caraway flavor. I’m not a fan of whole seeds in food so I tend to crush them when cooking with them. A mortar and pestle is one of my most used kitchen items. I love how it turns a daunting item like an unusual or infrequently used spice into something delicate and fragrant.
Caraway seeds are grown commercially in Holland and Germany and are used heavily in Scandinavian cooking. Some say it’s the oldest cultivated spice known to man, having been found alongside other cooking relics dating back more than 5,000 years. In modern times, it was and still is associated with Northern European cuisine, but it was frequently used during ancient Greek and Roman times. For centuries, caraway has been used medicinally for stomach ailments and as a sleep aid.
Caraway Quick Bread
No yeast, no rising, and a little less romantic, but great when you have a craving for fresh-baked bread in a hurry.
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
8 oz. honey-flavored Greek-style yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup whole milk (or more)
1. Preheat oven at 375°. Grease a 9″x5″ bread loaf pan and set aside. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine first seven ingredients; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, egg, olive oil, and milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. In a standing mixer or with a hand-held mixer, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, if mixture appears dry. It should look like wet cookie or biscotti dough. Do not over mix. Spread dough into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is nicely brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.