Sunday, September 16, 2012

Survived another birthday… still know how to procrastinate; a {w}ry Baking Babes edition


The month of September is a very busy one for our family, 4 birthdays in two weeks time! Son #1 and I are a mere 12 hours apart, my sis and mom’s birthdays just a week before and after ours.

You’d say I learned how to prioritize? I’m afraid not. In hindsight I’m afraid I have to tell you that my efficiency went haywire ever since the twins don’t need me to supervise their homework and schedules anymore and went all –or almost :-D- independent on me.

You’d say the things that need to be done are done ahead of time because of that great stretch of time the days of the week have become? I’m afraid not. That’s why today is the 16th and I’m baking bread. Erm.. technically I’m not even baking bread I’m rising bread. Which eventually is going to be baked. Baked up into a Molasses Fennel Rye Bread.

Elizabeth dressed in apron and headed the troops this time, leading us Babes towards a Rye and Fennel bread. This bread –as the story goes- is kept in loving memory; that lovely restaurant, that wonderful dinner, a happy couple and the most wonderful freshly baked rolls. The recipe was politely asked and given with a smile. And they were baked happily ever after. How’s that for a memory?


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

  • ¼ c (63gm) lukewarm water
  • 1½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tsp (17gm) sugar
  • 4 scant Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 430gm water, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp ground dried ginger  (fresh out of dried so I used fresh)
  • 103gm rye flour                    }
  • 122 gm whole wheat flour   }  combined these to 225 gr rye flour
  • 59gm wheat germ
  • 254g unbleached all purpose flour (I used 300 gr )
  • 1 Tbsp (18gm) salt **** (I used 2.1/4 tsp) WHY?
  • ¼ c (36gm) Thompson raisins
  • up to ½ c (64gm) unbleached all purpose flour for kneading  (added it right in because the Babes warned me of wet wet wet!)

Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. Mix yeast with water, sugar and molasses and let sit a few moments until mixture starts to bubble.
Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients to make a stiff dough. Knead 10 minutes on a well-floured board, adding additional white flour as dough takes it up. Knead in raisins.
Shape into two round balls and let rise, covered with a moist cloth, until double in size. Punch down, knead again for a few minutes, then shape into two balls, slit tops and let rise in a warm (85F) place until doubled in size. Bake at 325F for 35-40 minutes.

I hope someone can still follow what I did here. I’ll explain a little: I didn’t need to proof the yeast so didn’t use the extra water.

Didn’t add sugar because I didn’t use blackstrap molasses. (I once bought the salty black stuff and we found we hated the taste) so I used our black treacle which is sweet enough already.

About the rye…. our Dutch rye is “sharp rye” which is basically the whole meal version not “watered” down by regular flour or sifted or anything. Tough stuff to bake, but great when you succeed! I do love rye in my bread. 

Since I don’t bake as much as I used to my stash of flours has dwindled. What I had on hand however was a rye flour, probably with a little white flour mixed in.

That’s what I used and since the bag was almost empty I used all of it up to reach the grams of whole wheat and rye combined.

Recalculated the water content based on my combined flour weight to a total of somewhere around that 430 gram I mentioned above in the recipe.






 side by side Rye Fennel.jpg

I’m afraid I used too much salt. Very afraid. Can’t say anything on the subject yet because the dough is still eh… dough.

Uppity Update: Very happy to announce that the bread has been baked. My mantra yesterday night was Rise… Rise…. Rise…. and then I gave up and plunked the thing in the fridge. See ya tomorrow morning!! First thing this morning: take it out and let it come to room temp. Which again took forever. Then shaped and waited till it filled out the pan. (Wasn’t going to bother with wild bread at this point of time). Baked. Long! Took a snappy picture and it’s blurry. Typical.


Now we’re hours and hours further in the day and finally it cooled enough to slice and take proper pictures. Seriously I am going to bake this bread in hand-shaped rolls and let the boys take them to school as hand warmers this winter.


Referring to the incredible amount of salt I used. Malfunctioning of the brain rather than the eyes but still

The Babes that baked all warned us that this was going to be a wet one. Beware beware of the Wet they said. A head start might confer a disadvantage…. Wow that’s a neat way of making excuses! Anyway, it looks like these dimensions are working because the dough made up as it is, is behaving quite nicely. Tacky but not wet.

The time: 22.56 hours Still rising… I’ll be back with updates

 Uppity Update: with pics this time:

Can you believe it is still luke warm inside? And I’m afraid it’s a tiny bit gummy… or no, let’s call it wonderfully moist. Think it should cool some more but I am going to eat a slice now. Right now. With cheese. Or maybe ham salad?

Four of them all bad


In the meantime, visit my fellow Babes (their posts on the right hand side --->) or bake along with us and become a Buddy! Also Katie as our BBBBBBB will have a Babe round up ready soon.

What IS this Buddy thing?
The Bread Baking Babes are a closed group but we thought it would be fun to reward people who take the effort of baking our breads with us and give them a nice Buddy Badge and mention in a round up post every month. Just to say thank you for baking along and sharing your thoughts with us.
Since we are Babes and do not obey to rules, there are nearly no rules for Buddies, except these:

Bake the featured bread, snap a pic & share your thoughts about how you liked it (or not liked it)



  • leave a comment on this post that you have baked the bread, leaving a link back to your post.


  1. Oh sweetness, you used fresh ginger too!!! I have ground but I used the fresh because ... I had fresh and didn't want it to go bad ;-) Love fresh ginger!
    I used all the water and didn't find this wet. Flowers, we'll all so different ;-) and it's raining here.
    Look forward to see how it comes out of the oven.

  2. You used fresh ginger! How bold. (I bet it's great with fresh ginger - probably a bit different but good anyway.) And zero sugar. That sounds like something I'd do now. I daren't with this recipe though. ...well, maybe I will dare next time I make it (shhhhhh, don't tell anyone).

    I'm really looking forward to hearing about the final result. I'm assuming that it's good.

    Happy birthdays to all!

  3. All those birthdays are a great excuse...and at least you have dough. Hope the birthdays were happy occasions and that the dough bakes up beautifully, as I know it will since you are making it. Love the idea of fresh ginger in this bread.

  4. You are a brave woman indeed, using even more rye and no whole wheat....I can imagine it a long wait to rise. O yes forgot to warn about the salt now you mention it. I'm so used to about 1 tsp salt on 500 g flour, I don't even think twice. Didn't hear anyone else about the salt though either.
    With our youngest new in 'highschool', I'm more organised (a bit anyway) so I'm ready to help him out with homework planning and so on, I'm even starting to write real blog posts... help, that's scary!

    1. I know about that feeling when they are all in "highschool", I felt so accomplished and organised.. 5 years later..not so much! Enjoy while it's there, go with the flow!

  5. Beautiful!
    You got a WOW a rise there! Looks wonderful!
    Now, did you like it?
    Anything slightly too moist, toast it!

  6. Ohhh! Am I allowed to speak while chewing? It is Gooood!! A bit moist but the flavour is spot on! Love it Elizabeth!

    Lien I had a total of 600 gr flour, that took 430 gr water. The finished bread smells so good, and -just had my first slice- that crust is wonderful. This definitely is my kind of bread, rye, hearty with a sweet touch. Had one slice with ham salad, next up is a slice with cheese... Wish I had tuna. The ginger is hardly noticeable by the way.

  7. What a great crumb you got, looks so fluffy! I love the exciting step by step pacing of the days. And yes, happy birthday to all!

  8. I must say that I was a little nervous when you said you were going to make it into rolls for the boys to use as handwarmers. I thought you were going to say that it turned into a door stop. But no. It looks gorgeous!

    I'm so glad to hear you like it, Karen! ...even though you forgot to put in the raisins. ;-)

  9. Gulp! Elziabeth! But... I did. I have. Raisins I mean. Scrolling back to the pics I can't see them either though. But they're there. About a handful. Some of them got mauled in the process of kneading I guess.

  10. They look beautiful.... And it's always good to be creative. Well done!


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