Sweet rye bread with fennel seeds

Sweet rye bread with fennel seeds

Scandinavian Baking
2 loaves
Columbus Leth

This is inspired by a Swedish rye bread, that tends to be sweeter and softer than Danish rye. I like to go Sweden to walk in their vast woods; they have a wildness you do not find in Denmark. After my walk, I eat soft sweet rye bread with västerbotten cheese.

The dark syrup you need here can be bought on the internet from Scandinavian food sites (it is called just that: ‘dark syrup’). If you can’t find it, you can substitute golden syrup, though it won’t have quite the same slightly burnt ‘dark’ flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
25g fresh yeast
500ml lukewarm milk
4-6 tablespoons dark syrup
50g butter, melted and left to cool a little
500g stoneground rye flour
150g strong white flour
8g salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed


  1. Crumble the yeast into the milk in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Mix in the syrup and butter, then add the flours, salt and fennel seeds and mix really well in the bowl with a wooden spoon. (It will be too sticky to knead with your hands.) Cover with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature for two or three hours.
  2. Line two 1-litre loaf tins with baking parchment. Pour in the dough, cover with tea towels and leave to rise again, in a warm place, for one to two hours, or until each has increased in size by one-third.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the loaves with water and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn them out of the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
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