Spelt bread with fennel seeds

Dinkelbröd med fänkålsfrön

Spelt bread with fennel seeds

I love the way Swedes use herbs and spices in their food and the aroma of the fennel, when making this bread, is one of the things that makes baking it a real pleasure. It goes very well with so many things, especially fish and ham. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for spelt bread with fennel seeds


• It is important that the liquid is tepid because if it is too hot it will kill the yeast. If in doubt measure the temperature, which should no more than 45°C (115°F) if you are using dried yeast.
• If you can't get black treacle you can use molasses instead for a similar flavour.


50 g   butter
20 g   black treacle
290 g*   buttermilk
8 g (1½ tsp) salt 
12 g (2 tsp) fennel seeds
200+ g   whole grain spelt flour
200 g   strong white flour (bread flour)
7 g   "instant" dried yeast, 1 packet
    vegetable oil, for greasing
1   lightly beaten egg

*For bread recipes we recommend using digital scales and weighing all quantities in grams


1. Heat the butter and treacle gently in a saucepan. Stir in the buttermilk and continue to heat gently until everything is thoroughly mixed and the mixture is warm, about 40°C (104°F).

Grinding salt and fennel seeds

2. Grind the salt and 5 g of the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle to break up the fennel seeds. Tip the mixture into a large bowl.

3. Add the flours and yeast and stir thoroughly.

4. Pour in half of the butter milk mixture and stir to thoroughly mix.

5. Stir in the rest of the butter milk mixture until it begins to form a dough.

Spelt dough with fennel in a bowl

6. Tip the dough on to a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until elastic and less sticky.

7. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Leave it somewhere warm for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

8. Turn the risen dough out on to the work surface again and kneed for a couple of minutes. Shape into a round but slightly flattened ball.

9. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray and cover with a cloth. Leave somewhere warm again for about 30 minutes until it has doubled in size.

10. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas 6, Fan 180°C) and add a tray of boiling water to the bottom of the oven.

Unbaked spelt dough scored and sprinkled with fennel seeds

11. Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife to make a criss-cross pattern, brush with beaten egg and then sprinkle with the remaining fennel seeds.

12. Bake for about 40 minutes until it has turned golden and the underside sounds hollow when tapped.

13. Leave the bread to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


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John Duxbury
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