What’s for Supper – Danish Fennel & caraway Rye bread


It has been an emotional weekend. I reopened the café on a take-out basis, and was reunited with all our regular customers albeit at a distance, and from behind my face mask. Teresa and I were overwhelmed by the positive response and by those who said we had lifted their spirits beyond anything by offering what felt like a small return to normality. Not that this is anything like normality, needless to say.

Two things were clearly more missed than anything else, and they were our cinnamon buns and our Rye bread. I had so many lovely conversations about bread, and I thought I would share the super easy recipe for one of my longest standing recipes both in my bread making classes and in my café.

The baking soda based rye bread is the very first bread we teach on the Beginners Bread class, which was the first class I designed back in 2008, when I first started the school. I like to kick start what is a wonderfully relaxed Sunday morning class of mixing, kneading, shaping and baking with just a little bit of tongue in cheek competitiveness, by stating that this bread should take no more than 6-7 minutes to weigh out, mix and pour into a paper lined loaf tin, before it bakes for almost an hour and a half. Soda bread is mixed like a cake batter so its a brilliant confidence builder for complete novices, and a good way to get going before tackling yeast risen doughs and the need to knead, rise, shape and prove.


Fennel and Caraway Seed Soda Bread

Split the making between dry and wet ingredients. I am always looking for ways to minimise washing up when I cook at home. For this bread, I am therefore prone to opening my 500g pot of yoghurt and adding the two syrups straight into it. No need to create a sticky mixing bowl.

Switch the oven on to 180C as you will have mixed the bread within minutes.


500ml Natural Greek style yoghurt

1 tablespoon treacle

2 tablespoons golden syrup


This bit takes 1 minute.

Now, weigh up the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl as per below. That takes about 4 minutes.


150g strong white bread flour

90g wholemeal, barleycorn or other flavoursome organic flour

60g organic rye flour

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon caraways seeds

1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

40g larger seeds – a mix of sunflower/pumpkin seeds is good

1 large teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


Tip and scrape out all the contents of the yoghurt pot into the dry. Fold and mix but only just so wet and dry combine, no more.

As I am lazy I like using paper loaf tin cases rather than cutting my own baking parchment.

Pour into the paper lined tin and bake in the lower third of the oven. All in all, a 6-7 minutes job, max.

Bake for 90 minutes. Tip out of the tin and cool, in the paper, on a cooling rack.

The scent from this wonderfully savoury yet molasses infused bread is intoxicating – but don’t be tempted to slice it too soon, as it will fall apart if sliced while still hot.

This bread is insanely good with savoury toppings such as mature hard cheese, smoked salmon & dill mousse and prawns and mayo. I make Danish open sandwiches for the café every day. They are so easy to make, lend themselves to be topped with so many different things, and look as lovely as they taste.