Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


BBB – Molasses Fennel Rye

Surprise people!  Here’s another bread/recipe I would have read and passed on and I would have missed out big time.  Gorn would have missed out bigger time.  Do I repeat myself?  Perhaps but this is why I am so sold on baking with a group of friends.  Try something new that I wouldn’t have tried on my own.

The bread.  Some of us dressed and shaped our loaves with more style than I did but none of that would have changed the aroma coming from the oven or the fabulous flavor in every bite.  So mine is a very plain looking loaf everything else about this bread is stellar.

Kitchen of the Month: Elizabeth who blogs at From Our Kitchen.  For Elizabeth and her husband this is a super special bread because they shared it on on super special evening (see her story here).  For me it’s a super special bread because Gorn ate 2/3 of the first loaf in one evening and I don’t think it had that much sugar in it.  Raisins, it does have raisins in it and he’ll go for raisins every time.  I like molasses, I just don’t like too much of it SO, I only used 2 tablespoons molasses and then used 2 tablespoons of Rise Appelstroop (a long ago gift from Holland).

Molasses Fennel Rye Bread As Posted

Recipe By: based on Jack Francis’ recipe for Molasses-Fennel Bread served at “Clark’s by the Bay” restaurant in Collins Bay, Ontario (near Kingston) – now sadly closed
Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients:  my changes

1 1/2 teaspoon ( 6gm  5gm) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (63gm) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons Rinse Appelstroop
1 3/4 cup (438gm) water, room temperature
1 tablespoon (6gm) fennel seeds
1 1/2 inch knob grated fresh ginger root
1 cup (103gm) rye flour
1 cup (122 gm) sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (59gm) wheat germ + 3 tablespoons flax seed
2 cups (254gm) unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (18gm) salt (I used 15 gm)
1/4 cup (36gm) Thompson raisins … it was more
up to ½ c (64gm) unbleached all purpose flour for kneading – I used about 2 tablespoons



In a smallish bowl, whisk yeast with the lukewarm water (do the baby’s bottle test on your wrist) until it resembles cream. Set aside.  Actually, I mixed the yeast in the entire 2 cups of water … and one cup of the two was potato water.
Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough for the dough to double, pour the rest of the water – In my case it was all the water.   Stir in sugar (I skipped the sugar) molasses. (If the molasses is stiff because of a chilly kitchen, use warm water instead of room temperature.) Add fennel seeds and ground ginger. Dump in flours, wheat germ, flax seed and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly absorbed. Stir to form a rough dough.
Cover the bowl with a plate and let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.
Scatter a little of the flour for kneading onto a wooden board. Turn the dough out onto the board. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. (Please do not be tempted to skip this step.) Hand knead the dough 10 to 15 minutes, adding the smallest amounts of additional flour if dough is sticky. You don’t have to use up all the flour. When the dough is springy and silky to the touch, knead in raisins.
Form the dough into a ball and put it in the clean bowl; cover it with a plate (there is no need to oil the bowl!) Let the dough rise in a no-draft place at room temperature (or in the oven with only the light turned on if you want) for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Gently deflate dough.
Recover with the plate and allow to rise until doubled again.
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board; cut it in half with a dough scraper if you have one, with a knife if you don’t.
Shape into two round balls and place them (not touching) on a parchment papered pan or a cornmeal dusted peel. Dust the tops with flour.
Cover with a large plastic bag overtop let rise until double in size. (about an hour if the temperature is around 20C) Baking
Place a breadstone, if you have one, on the middle to second from the top rack and preheat the oven to 400F. If you want, slash the top of the rounds with a very sharp knife. Liberally spray the tops with water. Put bread in oven and immediately turn the oven down to 350F – I left it at 400° for 5 minutes then turned it down to 350°. Bake the bread on the middle to second from the top rack for 35-40 (I bake it for  45-50  30-35) minutes until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 205-210F or until it is hollow sounding on the bottom.  My bread took 35 minutes total to reach 205° .  I took the bread out of the pans and set them on their sides for the last 5 minutes in the oven.   It’s a good idea to turn the bread  after about 20 minutes of  half way through baking to allow for uneven heat in the oven (remove parchment paper at the same time).
Remove to cool on racks. Please wait until the bread is cool before cutting it. It’s still baking inside! If you like to eat warm bread, reheat the bread after it has cooled.

This is a really lovely bread.  With the ginger, raisins, baking aromas and gorgeous flavors, I’d easily call this a holiday bread.

Elizabeth has some terrific suggestions for serving this bread but finding this a very simple, even rustic loaf I went with simple and rustic: Tuscan Bean Soup.

Simple Rustic Bread & Soup

Simple and Rustic foods … I very much like the contrast here between the today square style clear bowl, bamboo wooden spoon and the very old my Grandmother’s Jewel Tea plate.  The plate rim ring is long gone from years of washing … by hand as there was never a mechanical dishwasher in that house.  These are the plates my Grandmother collected every time she went to the grocery story and these are the plates all the family ate off of for so many years.  Sitting for hours around the table with lively talk of old times and heated political debates.  One such meal and debate ended with my father making a point by tapping my Aunt Dort’s chest which sent her over backwards (she always was tipping her chair on the back legs) and hitting her head on the molding around the floor.  Dr. Brown (John Brown) was called out to stitch her head requiring 15 stitches.  Doctors still made house calls in those days.

To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Molasses Fennel Rye Bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turned out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 September 2012. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month (Elizabeth who blogs at From Our Kitchen) to say that your post is up.

Either email Elizabeth or leave a comment on her post that you have baked the bread and a link back to your post.

Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)

that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

BYOB BadgeFor more information about BYOB, please read the following:

Spread it with cream cheese!  Lovely.  Today we’re finishing the second loaf with salmon, cream cheese & capers!  I know it’s going to be great.  Bake it!