Recipe: How to make Swedish spelt bread with fennel seeds

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Recipe: How to make Swedish spelt bread with fennel seeds
Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedish cuisine is surprisingly rich in spices and herbs. Food writer John Duxbury loves the aroma of the fennel when baking this bread, and shares the step-by-step in this quick recipe.


In this recipe for spelt bread with fennel seeds (Dinkelbröd med fänkålsfrön), the sweetness of the fennel makes this bread a delight to bake and eat, especially when pairing it with fish or ham.


Makes one loaf

Level of difficulty: Easy

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Total: 55 minutes (plus about 90 minutes rising time)



- 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 (1 ½ 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 he recommends 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).

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.

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.

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.

Recipe published courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.


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