Caraway is also referred to as median fennel, and is a biennial plant from the Apiaceae family. Its seeds are extremely aromatic and are commonly used as a spice or herb in cooking. They have a slightly anise flavour that will add an additional element to a number of different types of meal.
For this reason, caraway seeds deserve a place in most spice racks and should be something you reach for regularly. In this post, we’ll take a look at where they come from, and what you can do with them.
Caraway Seeds Uses
Caraway seeds are commonly used in conjunction with baking tools to make breads and desserts. They are commonly found in rye and soda breads and are one of the main ingredients in the British ‘seed cake’.
That said, they can also find their way into curries, as well as soups, and even liqueurs in some cases – one example being the Scandinavian aquavit.
Some uses you might find for caraway seeds include:
- Adding them to potato salads and coleslaws
- Adding them to tomato soups
- Using them in cheese dips
- Using them in cookies
- Using them in shortbread
- Adding flavor to a goulash or stew
- Adding to pork roast
You can also use caraway seeds as substitutes for cumin, and vice versa. This is owing to their similar taste.
Interestingly, caraway seeds are often eaten toasted. If you toast a caraway seed, then it will reduce the earthy anise taste enough to make it better suited for use in a bread. While it’s probably possible to do this with a toasty bag, the most common option is to use a skillet and a spatula.
A Recipe using Caraway Seeds
The best way to get to grips with a herb or spice is to try cooking with them. To that end you might choose to use a bread maker or warming tray to make your own bread. Grab your apron and a bread slicer and let’s go!
For this example, you’ll be making a rye bread, which will require 200g of rye flour, 200g of regular wholemeal flour, 7g of yeast, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of honey, and a handful of caraway seeds.
Tip all the dry ingredients (flours and yeast) into something from your mixing bowl sets and then combine them. Now add 250ml of warm water and honey onto the flour to make the dough. Rye flour is dry so this might absorb quickly – you’ll need more than usual. Now add in the honey and a pinch of salt. Knead until the mixture is smooth (should take around 10 minutes), cover, and leave to prove for 1-2 hours.
Add the seeds, then knead again to remove the bubbles and then bake. You’ll find that this recipe really lets you taste the caraway seeds, while also getting to see just how they would normally be used. This is a great way to get familiar with the process of using them and to see how they work in a recipe.
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