Sunday, 13 March 2011

Thyme & sirop de Liège bread

sirop de LiègeMany of us who grew up in Belgium and especially, as I did, in the Liège area, probably grew up with Sirop de Liège which is a thick, very sweet dark paste made with pears, apples, dates and sugar. It's usually enjoyed on bread (I love it on toast for breakfast) or with strong cheeses like fromage de Herve and is one of the star ingredients in the delicious boulets à la liégeoise (recipe in English or also in French from fellow bloggers Marie and Françoise).

Today I wanted to try and add the syrup to bread, instead of on bread. This, to see how its sweetness would affect the taste of the bread, and whether the final product would be suitable to use with savoury ingredients. To help this along I've also incorporated thyme, which pairs favourably with the syrup and is incidentally used in the classic Liège meatballs recipe mentioned earlier.

Thyme & sirop de Liège bread

Ingredients: (for about 6 individual loafs)

  • 240 g white bread flour
  • 60 g 6-cereal bread flour
  • 180–200 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 generous tbsp liège syrup
  • 6 g instant yeast
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • 4–5 g salt
  • a pinch of sugar


Mix the yeast and sugar with a little warm water. Wait 5–10 minutes until bubbly.

In a large and deep dish, mix together the flours and the salt. Add the yeast mixture, some of the remaining water and the syrup. Mix with a metallic spoon until well hydrated, adding water as necessary. Knead for about 10 minutes. The dough will be sticky at first, partly because of the syrup. Add flour in small quantities if needed. After 10 minutes you'll end up with an elastic, but still a little sticky dough. Shape as a ball, place in a lightly oiled container, cover with a damp towel and leave to ferment for about 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Punch the dough and knead again for a couple of minutes. Divide in 6 parts and shape as boules or bâtards. Place on a baking sheet previously covered with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Cover with a damp towel and leave to proof for 30 minutes or so.

Pre-heat the oven to 210°C.

Remove the towel and bake for about 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack before serving.

Verdict: I got a little distracted and the proofing was a little too long, so the loaves have collapsed a bit. Taste-wise, the bread is mostly aromatic in nature. The sweet note from the syrup plays second fiddle, but is definitely present and recognizable.

Thyme & sirop de Liège bread

Submitted to YeastSpotting.


  1. Bravo pour ce pain trait d'union entre la Belgique et la Provence... sirop de Liège et thym, comme les boulets du reste comme tu le rappelles (au passage merci pour le clin d'oeil mais la recette reste celle de Marie!). J'aurais très envie de goûter et à chaque bouchée me demander si c'est le sirop qui prédomine ou le thym ou les deux à égalité et recommencer...

  2. Très bonne idée, il faut que j'essaye !! :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails