Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Late Rye Bread Worth the Wait

This lovely Rye Bread that has nostalgic meaning for Kitchen of the Month Elizabeth requires kneading and this month when the Bread Baking Babes...and many Buddies...posted their versions, I was still letting the old arm heal, so no kneading allowed.

Now we are into the 6th week post-injury and I'm supposed to start using it more, so I HAD to make the Fennel Molasses Rye Bread as part of my rehab :)

I'm not a huge fan of fennel or even caraway, so I added some pulverized dried orange peel instead. The molasses gives the bread a fantastic flavor. I used mild, not blackstrap, but it worked just fine. For the raisins I used golden raisins because thats what I had on hand. The dough is lovely and easy to work with. I decided to make rolls and they are extremely delicious!

This recipe is a keeper for sure. Thank you Elizabeth! I know I'm late to the BBB party, but it was worth the wait.

Molasses Fennel Rye Bread

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
makes two round loaves (or 8 large rolls)

¼ c (63gm) lukewarm water
1½ tsp ( 6 5gm) active dry yeast
4 tsp (17gm) sugar
4 Tbsp (85gm) blackstrap molasses
1¾ c (438gm) water, room temperature
1 Tbsp (6gm) fennel seeds
½ tsp (1gm) ground dried ginger
1 c (103gm) rye flour
1 c (122 gm) whole wheat flour
½ c (59gm) wheat germ
2 c (254gm) unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp (18gm) salt
¼ c (36gm) Thompson raisins
up to ½ c (64gm) unbleached all purpose flour for kneading

Mixing 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.

Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough for the dough to double, pour the rest of the water. Stir in sugar and 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 and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly absorbed.

Add the yeast mixture (it should be quite foamy - if it is not after a period of 20 minutes have passed, either the yeast is dead or the water was too hot or far too cold. Check the due date on your yeast container. If the date hasn't passed, try again.) stir to form a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

Kneading 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.

Proofing 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-draught 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 clean tea towel followed by 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. 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. 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.

We enjoyed these rolls with some butter, barely cooled from baking, then again this morning for breakfast. Awesome!


  1. Ooh lovely in rolls! I'm at work now eating a soggy brownbagged sandwich so I'd love one of your rolls!

  2. Ummm, I can see I really must do this as rolls. Everyday since we ate the last slice, I've wanted more just to put our salmon on.

    Lovely rolls.

  3. I'm so glad you got a chance to make this bread, Elle! It is good, isn't it?

    Orange peel and golden raisins, eh? I bet that's delicious too.

    I hope your arm is completely better soon. Perhaps these rolls are particularly therapeutic. :-)

  4. Anonymous9:44 AM

    You should reconsider caraway, and perhaps substitute currants for the rasins. This unlikely sounding combination is fantastic in Irish Soda Bread, and should work here as well.
    -- Nohandle