Winter is one of my favorite times to bake and cook because there’s always something so comforting about a warm, cozy kitchen with delicious smells when it’s chilly outside. I was thinking back recently about being a kid at Christmas time, and how it’s very different as an adult when I started thinking about my great-grandma’s gingerbread. Every Christmas, my dad would always make her gingerbread recipe, and in many ways, it’s a huge part of my childhood Christmas memories. I realized that I haven’t had it since I was living at home, so I decided it was definitely time to make a loaf, but of course I had to make an addition; naturally fermented sauerkraut! Sauerkraut is a common ingredient in traditional German baked goods, so it just seemed the perfect addition to the recipe. I’m sure great-grandma would approve, and you will too!
Start draining your sauerkraut. Combine eggs, butter, and sugar and blend well. Add buttermilk, molasses, sauerkraut, spices and baking powder, mix well. Add a little bit of the flour at a time, making sure to blend well; the mixture will get increasingly thick, so it’s easiest to add it slowly to make sure that you don’t end up with any unmixed flour pockets. When thoroughly mixed, pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack for about an hour prior to serving.
*Note: if you’re like me, you may not always have cake flour on hand. You can substitute regular flour for cake flour with the addition of cornstarch to your flour. For one level cup of regular flour, remove 2 Tbsp of the flour and replace it with 2 Tbsps of cornstarch. Then sift it together! It works well in a pinch.
Happy holidays to you all and a very happy, healthy New Year!
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