Armenian Viking Bread

by Angela aka Farmer Jane on August 7, 2011 · 0 comments

Okay, so you may be asking yourself, “What the hell is Armenian Viking Bread!?” Its a new zucchini bread I made up yesterday.

The photo above is of our zucchinis and in the bowl to the left are two Armenian cucumbers each almost 16 inches. Now, what makes an Armenian Viking bread what it is, has to do with the spices used. Way back when I was a viking queen, cardamom was all the rage!

Cardamom is the queen of spices and I highly recommend using this spice in future recipes when spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves are used . I can’t wait to make a braided viking bread!

Actually the vikings never made this kind of bread, I just like the way it sounds…hearty!

In all seriousness, this bread came out kick ass! I made three loaves, and the first loaf was a little too sweet for my taste, but the second batch I think came out awesome.

The taste tester (Dom) had his preferences…Dom liked the sweet one.

I was inspired to make a zucchini bread because we are going to have so many Armenian cucumbers we won’t know what to do with them all, other than canning, eating them in a salad or stir fry, as a melon-cucumber gazpacho or baking them in breads.

We’ve eaten a wide variety of different sized Armenian cucumbers, and I must say the the bigger they are, the better the texture (small ones below the size of a standard cucumber are on the hard side). They actually taste pretty much the same no matter what size they are, with absolutely no bitterness in the fruit. They can be used to replace zucchini in zucchini bread if you want.

I asked Dom to bring home cream cheese last night, and today I’ll be making a cream cheese spread for the bread…I’ll add that recipe later today to this entry.

Here are the two recipes…the directions are the same for both:

Sweet Armenian Viking Bread

Yields one loaf

2 c. Armenian cucumber or zucchini (or both) Be sure to take the seeds out if you’re using cucumbers

2 c. all purpose flour sifted

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. cardamom

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (to really appreciate nutmeg, grate it fresh! The smell is intoxicating)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 large eggs

3/4 cup of really good grapeseed oil

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients. In a second large bowl mix all wet ingredients. Slowly add dry mixture to wet ingredients. The mixture will be very stiff. Add cucumber. Oil and flour dust a 9×5 loaf pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes or test with a toothpick. In lower elevations,  you’ll probably need to bake this bread a little longer. After taking the bread out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes to cool.

This recipe will work for those at a regular altitude and for those in the high desert. Anyone that bakes in the high desert knows that there are variations in temperature and also you may need to tweak the amount of baking soda and baking powder as well as the sugar. Because this is a “zucchini bread”, I’ve found that amount of evaporation in the bread was nominal. We are at 4,830 feet above sea level, so those who are higher than us will definitely need to make a few adjustments to the recipe.

Here is the batch “B”

Hearty Armenian Viking Bread

Yields two loaves

4 c. Armenian cucumber and/or zucchini (remove seeds from cucumber)

3 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. ground golden flax

1 c. sugar

1 c. agave nectar

3/4 tsp. cardamom

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

4 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/3 c. grapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients. In a second large bowl mix all wet ingredients. Slowly add dry mixture to wet ingredients. The mixture will be very stiff. Add cucumber. Oil and flour dust a 9×5 loaf pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes or test with a toothpick. In lower elevations,  you’ll probably need to bake this bread a little longer. After taking the bread out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes to cool.

On a personal note, for me, its better to wait till the bread (or any food for that matter) cools down sufficiently before you eat it. When things are piping hot, the flavors are not the same as when the food has had time to cool.

I made a spread this morning for the Armenian Viking bread and here is my recipe…tweak it and add more or less sweetness as needed:

1/2 pound of cream cheese (use this much only if you want extra to go on other breads, bagels and such)

Juice from 3 fresh squeezed lemons

1 c. cucumber chopped

1/4 c. honey

In a blender, combine cucumber and lemon juice and set aside. Using a mixer on medium speed, mix cream cheese and honey. Then pour in cucumber-lemon mix until smooth. Refrigerate till ready to serve.

I liked the way this spread came out because it wasn’t overly sweet and added a nice zing of flavor without over powering the complexities of favors from the bread.

This morning’s brunch included peppered maple syrup basted bacon with skillet eggs over zucchini, jalapeno and pepper jack cheese. An interesting complement to the meal was the Armenian Viking bread which added that little touch of sweet to the meal.

Our kitchen is a little more complete. The veggie art on the wall is called “The Rescue” I fell in love with this artists take on veggies.

Anyway, that particular picture fell off the wall and and glass and frame broke. It sat for a month or two under a cloth until I had the time to go up to Hobby Lobby to get it reframed.

The shelf I designed while at Home Depot. I was looking around at all the different types of wood and when I saw the poplar with a streak of purple running through it, I knew that was going to be our shelf material. The wooden dowel is also made of poplar. The corbels holding up the shelf  were already made. I just cut the shelf to size, lightly sanded everything, added heavy duty eye hooks to the underside of the shelf, slid the wooden dowel through the eye hooks, added “S” hooks and POOF! our coffee station is done. We still have more to do in the kitchen, but its nice to have another part done.

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