Spiced bread very known from advertisements from the 1820's to 70's, associated (like Fair Buttons) with the annual Tombland Fair at Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 22 March 1823
Saturday 27 March 1858 , Norfolk Chronicle
Original Receipt from Tracey Bennett – Diss & District Memories Facebook page, Sept 2016 (sent by Alex Bray)
So I've spent the weekend baking and experimenting. Here's my verdict on the Diss Spice Bread. The Brown version came good more or less straight away but was VERY hard - I feared for my teeth! I adapted it to use self raising flour and shortened the cooking time which made it softer.
The white version was OK, like a cross between a biscuit and a scone, but a bit bland. Reminded me of baby rusk tbh. I adapted it a bit to be more similar to the brown recipe and added lemon zest (as the original letter mentioned it had a lemon flavour) I'm now really pleased with the finished result. I'll be sending a big jar of them into my daughter's school for Victorian day.
I've attached my adapted recipes if anyone's interested.
8oz SR flour
4oz golden syrup
1tsp ground coriander
zest of one lemon
8oz SR flour
1tsp ground ginger
2oz golden syrup
2oz black treacle
Method the same for both.
Rub butter and flour together to breadcrumbs. Add sugar, spices (and lemon zest for the white version). Heat the syrup to runny consistency, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. The dark version is crumblier and may require a splash of milk to bring it together. Roll out to approx half a cm thick, cut into 2 inch rounds. Do not re-mix cuttings more than once as the dough becomes stiff and the resulting biscuits very hard. Bake at gm4 for 10 mins. They will be soft when they come out but harden as they cool.
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