Scandi Rye Bread with Fennel and Pumpkin Seeds

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house must be one of the best smells in the world, and this bread does not fail to deliver on that front. Roasted pumpkin seeds teamed with baked bread is an absolute winner, too. So that’s a win/win situation, right?

Mixed with plain flour, this rye bread isn’t too dense yet retains a sourdough quality. Perfect with smoked salmon, beetroot and dill – or just with a bit of butter. Yum.

Scandi Rye Bread with Fennel and Pumpkin Seeds

Makes one loaf

175ml whole milk
175ml water
2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
1 sachet (7g) fast acting yeast
225g strong white flour
225g rye flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Flour for dusting
Olive oil

In a small saucepan heat the milk, water and sugar until lukewarm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the yeast and leave this for around 10 minutes or until frothy.

Next, in a large bowl, combine the flours, salt and fennel seeds. Create a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Bring the mixture together first with a spoon and then with your hands. Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface (it’s quite a sticky dough), and knead for a good 10 minutes, adding flour if and when necessary. The dough should spring back if you press you finger into after it’s been kneaded.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 1.5 hours – it should double in size.

Once the first prove is done, use a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to oil your work surface. Knock back the dough, then proceed to knead it on the oiled surface for a few minutes.

Shape the dough into a circular loaf by pulling the top and sides round and underneath to make the surface taut. Gently press the smooth top of the dough into the pumpkin seeds whilst holding onto the bottom to keep it taut, then place it on a lightly floured and unlined baking sheet. Make a few scores in the dough, then cover with a clean dish cloth or cling film and leave to prove for another 30 minutes or so.

At this point preheat the oven to 180°c.

After the second prove, wet your hands with some cold water and gently rub this over the dough. Pop it into the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the top is crusty and the base sounds hollow when it’s tapped.

Leave to cool before tucking in, or rip it apart and smother it with butter straight out of the oven like I did.

Recipe adapted from the Hairy Bikers Scandinavian Rye Bread

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