Sunday, 23 September 2012

It started out as Molasses Fennel Rye Bread

The Bread Baking Babes and Friends (BBBs) have been making Molasses Fennel Rye Bread this month. This delicious bread is based on a recipe from Clark’s by the Bay near Kingston, Ontario.

Elizabeth of Blog from OUR Kitchen chose this bread as a reminder of days gone by. She visited Clark’s by the Bay awhile back and related such a neat story that I really wanted to try this bread. Refer to Elizabeth’s post if you want to make the original version of this bread. If you want to try a twist on a theme, then read on…

I set out to make the Molasses Fennel Rye Bread like the other good BBBs; however, mine quickly took on a life of it’s own. I didn’t have any raisins so I used dried cranberries, and I only had 1/4 cup of wheat germ so I supplemented with some rye flakes. I also ended up adding a good bit more flour than the original version called for.



My version is called Rye Fennel Molasses Cranberry Bread.  It’s not too sweet, and has just a hint of fennel flavor.  It is a delicious toast bread. It reminds me of Swedish Limpa Rye Bread although it doesn’t include any orange peel and it has fennel seeds instead of anise and caraway seeds.


Rye Fennel Molasses Cranberry Bread

Makes: 2 large Batard-shaped Loaves (or 2 round loaves if you prefer)

Adapted from: Molasses Fennel Rye Bread from Memory Lane by Elizabeth

Based on Jack Francis’ recipe for Molasses-Fennel Bread served at “Clark’s by the Bay” restaurant in Collins Bay, Ontario (near Kingston) – now closed


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 3/4 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons rye flakes
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 to 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour for kneading.  It’s a pretty slack dough so you might need more flour.



1) Mixing the Dough

In a small bowl, whisk together yeast and lukewarm water. Set aside until it’s foamy, about 10 minutes or so.

In a large bowl, pour in the rest of the water and stir in sugar and molasses. Add fennel seeds and ground ginger. Add the flours, wheat germ, rye flakes and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly absorbed.



Add the yeast mixture and stir to form a rough dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.



2) Kneading the Dough

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.

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 cranberries.


3) Bulk Fermentation

Form the dough into a ball and put it in the clean, oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.



Let the dough rise in a no-draft place at room temperature (or in the oven with the light turned on) for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. Gently deflate dough. Recover with the plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled again.



4) Shaping the Dough

Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board; cut it in half with a dough scraper if you have one, or with a knife if you don’t.



5) Proofing the Loaves

Shape into two batards and place them (not touching) on a baking sheet covered with parchment papered or a cornmeal dusted peel. Dust the tops with flour or spray with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about an hour or so.

Refer to the 66 Percent Sourdough Rye Bread post for step-by-step instructions on shaking Batard loaves.



6) Scoring the Loaves

Preheat the oven to 400F. with a baking stone on the middle rack. This bread really doesn’t need a baking stone. I burned my loaves a little bit so next time I will probably not use a baking stone to bake these loaves.

Score the loaves down the middle using a sharp knife, serrated knife, or lame.



7) Baking the Loaves

Spray the tops of the loaves with water. Load the loaves onto the baking stone (on the parchment paper) and immediately turn the oven down to 350F. Bake the loaves on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 205-210F or until it is hollow sounding on the bottom. It’s a good idea to turn the bread about half way through baking to allow for uneven heat in the oven (remove parchment paper at the same time).



8) Cooling the Loaves

Remove the loaves to cool on racks. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter, if desired. It’s best to wait until the bread is cool before cutting it. If you like to eat warm bread, reheat the bread after it has cooled.



9) Slice and Enjoy!

Even with all of the substitutions, this bread turned out fabulous (except for being a little burnt around the edges). Oops!  I just sliced off the burned part and enjoyed it warm with butter. This bread is so good, its addictive.  One slice is not enough! So go on, have another piece…



Happy Baking!




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