Oranges and Rye Bread (BBB March 2012)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Swedish Rye Bread with orange zest, aniseed, caraway and poppy seeds; information about Bread Baking Babes; submission for YeastSpotting; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) March 2012

Knock. Knock.
Who’s there?
Orange, who?
Orange you glad I said Swedish Rye Bread?

Okay. You’re right; it’s lame. But at least there were no bananas! I know how some of you loathe bananas. (You know who you are.) :stomp:

Swedish Bread (BBB) So what’s up with the knock knock joke about oranges? Because this bread that Astrid chose for the BBB task for March calls for them! Well, orange zest, that is. To make it even more interesting (in a good way) there are also caraway, anise and poppy seeds added.

This is like no other rye bread I’ve had. It’s wonderfully soft in the crumb and the crust is beautifully chewy. But not so much that it will break anyone’s teeth. And the scent of the bread as it’s being mixed, kneaded, rising and baked. Wow!! Our house smelled like Christmas.

Oddly, even though the orange was very pronounced in the aroma, there is little hint of its flavour in the bread itself.

I made half the recipe and going against all precedent, I didn’t make any changes to the recipe. Yes, I even went out and bought aniseed to use instead of fennel seed that we always have on hand. Okay, okay, I made one change: I reduced the amount of yeast by a little.

Swedish Rye Diary:

Monday 12 March 14:56: We bought oranges yesterday so I could make the Swedish Rye this week. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and actually read a recipe before going into the kitchen (wish me luck with that…).

I had questions about #4 and #24 in the instructions:
4. Let rise for 45 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place. […]
24. Cover and let rise again. This will take 20-25 minutes.
-BBB Swedish Rye recipe

Why oh why don’t writers say “til doubled” instead of giving times for rising? I’m guessing that Edward Espe Brown didn’t have a kitchen like ours – even if we put bread dough in the oven with only the light on and/or turn the oven on briefly to warm it up first, it takes WAY longer for it to rise than it does in cookbook writers’ kitchens.

Tuesday 14 March 11:04: I just finished mixing sandwich bread dough as per my instructions from T and realized that the deadline for the Swedish Rye is fast approaching.

Thank goodness that Astrid wrote out all the instructions! I’ve only made one recipe from that Tassajara Bread book and found it to be so confusing because of having to keep turning pages to go from one recipe to the next to find the instructions for each part of the bread (it turned into really delicious banana cinnamon buns).

No time like the present to make it! I checked again to make sure we had all the ingredients:

  1. CHECK yeast
  2. CHECK Honey
  3. CHECK Powdered milk
  4. CHECK Naval orange
  5. CHECK aniseed Ha!! I bet you thought this box would be unchecked! (At first I thought I would just use fennel seed but when we were replenishing our flax seed, I saw the aniseed bin and decided to get a little to see if it tastes that much different.)
  6. CHECK Caraway seeds
  7. CHECK All-Purpose flour
  8. CHECK Rye flour
  9. CHECK Whole wheat flour
  10. NOPE Freezer space OH OH!!!

It’s a miracle! We had everything that was required. Fiddle-dee-dee about the lack of freezer space. I will just have to eat the resulting bread. :-)

11:44: With all the ingredients out on the counter, I happily started zesting the orange. I LOVE the smell of orange zest!

The first part of the dough came together beautifully. I dumped in the water, whisked in the yeast. Then I dumped in the orange zest, seeds and

Beat well with a spoon (100 strokes).
-BBB Swedish Rye recipe

I stirred stirred stirred – around and around – counting counting – with my favourite wooden spoon.

3. Continue to beat until you have a smooth dough.
Again pull your spoon under the dough and bring it up to the surface again in a circular mode. The batter will be more elastic while you are doing this as more and more air gets incorporated.
-BBB Swedish Rye recipe

Pull my spoon under the dough and bring it up to the surface? Oh dear.

Errrrmmm, I’m afraid I just beat round and round in a circle… (Heh. One of these days I’ll learn to read everything before I actually make the bread.)

13:21 I’m so excited to be using new flour that no additives except the vitamins that are required by Canadian law! I just discovered a supermarket way way way north of us (just past the 401) that sells Rogers flours, from a company in BC! I bought bags of their dark rye, 100% whole wheat and unbleached all-purpose flours, all of which are going into this bread. :-)

Mixing in the oil, salt and rye flour was a breeze. I dumped it all in and happily stirred stirred stirred with my favourite wooden spoon. And then I read to make sure I’d done everything I was supposed to do.

5. Folding in the remaining ingredients. Do not stir! Do not cut through the dough, this will improve the elasticity and strength of the dough.
6. Sprinkle on the salt and pour on the oil. Stir around the side of the bowl working carefully your way towards the center. Rotate your bowl a little with every stroke you do. Repeat until all of the salt and oil is incorporated.
7. Sprinkle the flour 1/2 a cup at a time onto the dough. Again fold it in while rotating your bowl.
-BBB Swedish Rye recipe

Oh oh. Work carefully?? Rotate the bowl?? Fold? Do NOT stir??

I decided to ignore that part and hope it would just go away.

9. Plop your dough on your kneading board and scrap all remainings from the bowl onto the dough. Keep in mind that your surface should be floured enough to prevent the dough from sticking to much on the board.
-BBB Swedish Rye recipe

I made an executive decision and dumped the whole wheat flour onto the board. (No, wait, I lied. It wasn’t a decision at all. I just blindly threw the flour down.) But I got the “plop your dough” part right!!

Kneading was a pleasure after I stopped worrying that all of the whole wheat flour might not fit into the dough.

17:30: Ah, it must be spring at last!! The dough doubled in record time. In OUR kitchen! (I was worried that I might be baking this tomorrow.) And does it ever smell wonderful! I do love that orange zest.

As I was turning out dough, just before shaping, I began to freak out. Eeek, what are those orange worm-like things?!

Oh yah. Orange zest… Duh. (Hmmm, no wonder I can’t remember what I’ve read. I can’t even hold onto the fact that there is orange zest even as I’m commenting to myself how wonderful the aroma of orange zest is. :stomp: :stomp:)

18:20: Initially, I was going to make two medium sized loaves. I divided the dough in two and shaped one piece. It looked small.

So I changed what’s left of my mind and amalgamated both pieces into one – with some difficulty because the two pieces were floured. Good thing that the instructions say to knead the dough a little before the final shaping. Shaping NOT my best. I covered up the errors the best I could by sprinkling it liberally with poppy seeds.

20:05: Miraculously, the loaf rose beautifully. And it just wanted to be slashed!

20:40: Smells fabulous! Not done yet…

Swedish Bread (BBB) 20:50: Still smells fabulous and LOOK AT THOSE SLASHES! Sure, it’s a little heavy but it’s rye bread. Oooh, I can’t wait to taste it!

My slashes worked!! And isn’t this bread beautiful? Thank you, Astrid!

Here is this month’s BBB recipe. And here is what I did to it:

Swedish Rye Bread
adapted from a recipe in “Tassajara Bread Book” by Edward Espe Brown


  • 1.5 c lukewarm water
  • 1.75 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 0.5 c powdered milk
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp aniseed
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • squirt lemon juice ¹

actual dough

  • everything from above
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 c dark rye flour
  • 0.5 c whole wheat flour, for kneading
  • poppy seeds, for topping
  1. starter: In a large bowl, whisk yeast into water until it has dissolved. Stir in honey, milk powder, orange zest and seeds.
  2. Add all-purpose flour and using a wooden spoon, stir well, beating 100 times. ² The loose mixture should be quite smooth. Use a scraper to push any of the batter down from the sides of the bowl, cover it with a plate and allow to rise in a warmish no-draft spot for about an hour (til it starts bubbling and expanding somewhat).
  3. actual dough Add the oil, rye flour and salt. Use a wooden spoon to encorporate the ingredients. ³
  4. kneading Dump the whole wheat flour onto the board and spread it around. Place the dough on the flour.
  5. Wash and dry the mixing bowl.
  6. Knead for about 10 minutes until all the whole wheat flour is encorporated and the dough is smooth and silky feeling. Use a dough scraper to pull up any dough that sticks to the board.
  7. Put the kneaded dough into the clean mixing bowl (no need to oil the bowl!!), cover with a plate and leave in a warmish no-draft area until it has doubled.
  8. Deflate the dough, cover with a plate and allow to rise to double again, if you want. (I skipped this step.)
  9. shaping: Lightly dust the board with flour and turn the dough out. Knead the dough about 5 times to give it added spring. Roll it into a round or log shape. Place the shaped loaf seam side down on a sheet of parchment paper. Brush the top of the loaf with water and liberally sprinkle poppy seeds over top. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and allow to rise to almost double.
  10. baking: Turn the oven at 350F, making sure that there is a stone in the oven.
  11. When the oven is hot, use a good serrated knife to slash the top with half-inch deep slits. Transfer the loaf (including the parchment paper) and bake for 50-60 minutes until it sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom and the internal temperature is at least 200F. Turn the loaf around (and remove the parchment paper) half way through the baking to account for uneven oven heat.
  12. Allow to cool on a well ventilated rack before slicing. It’s still baking! 4


1.) Lemon Juice: This is entirely optional. I could just as easily have added a bit of orange juice (if I hadn’t eaten the orange, that is.)

2.) Stirring the starter: Espe Brown suggests to beat by “stir[ring] up and down in a circular mode from the bottom of the bowl to the surface of the dough” and goes on to say to remember to “pull your spoon under the dough and bring it up to the surface again in a circular mode. The batter will be more elastic while you are doing this as more and more air gets incorporated.

3.) Stirring in the rye flour, salt and oil: Espe Brown says to fold the rest of the ingredients into the starter and adds “Do not stir! Do not cut through the dough, this will improve the elasticity and strength of the dough. […] Stir around the side of the bowl working carefully your way towards the center. Rotate your bowl a little with every stroke you do. Repeat until all of the salt and oil is incorporated.

4.) But I like warm bread!: If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

I rewarded myself by eating two small slices: one with butter and the other with butter and T’s Seville orange marmalade for breakfast the next morning. No surprise, the bread is delicious!!

Did I mention that I LOVED the smell of the oranges when the bread was rising, baking and being sliced? But I’m amazed that the orange flavour isn’t really apparent in the taste. The other surprise is that the caraway and aniseed are very subtle as well.

Swedish Bread (BBB) We had faux-Reubens for lunch: with ham, no-name mozzarella (basically medium white cheddar, there’s no way they stretch that cheese to make it) and grated raw beet/onion salad. The sandwiches were delicious!

Swedish Bread (BBB) Then for dinner, we had ham-hock white bean soup (remind me to rave some more about that!) and rye bread and butter on the side. Finally, the flavour of the orange came through. What perfect bread to have with white bean soup.

Thank you, once again, Astrid! I love this bread!

Bread Baking Babes
Bread Baking Babes: Swedish Rye (March 2012)

Astrid (Paulchen’s Foodblog) is the host of March 2012’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

For March I thought we’d go up a little north… We’ve been on the white bread and quick bread side lately so I wanted to go a bit darker, prolly a bit more healty and spicy too… It’s quite a while ago since we played with rye and whole wheat.

The following recipe is taken from the Tassajara Bread Book and is described there as “sweet-smelling and scented, a light bread suitable for sandwiches”

Sweet-smelling and scented it is indeed! Light too. Absolutely suitable for sandwiches. We do hope you’ll join us and make this bread as well.

To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Swedish Rye in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turned out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 March 2012. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ Swedish Rye:


Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)

that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

BYOB Badge For more information about BYOB, please read the following:


We’re going through T’s Seville orange marmalade so quickly that we were most relieved last week to find Seville oranges still available at one of our favourite vegetable/fruit stores. This past weekend, T made MORE marmalade. :-) :-)

Swedish Rye (BBB)


edit 19 May 2012: When I read Google’s translation of Ágnes’ post about her Swedish Rye bread, I was reminded that I too reduced the amount of yeast in the recipe and neglected to say anything about it. Espy’s recipe calls for 2.25 tsp of active dry yeast for the amount of flour I used. I added only 1.75 tsp active dry yeast. It was plenty.

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes on by .

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9 responses to “Oranges and Rye Bread (BBB March 2012)

  1. Elle

    Gorgeous, gorgeous bread with those slashes and poppy seeds. It is interesting that the orange flavor was subdued…maybe it all got used up in aromatherapy while it baked? Sounds so wonderful with white bean soup that I’m going to have to make some. Been a long time since I heard and orange ‘knock, knock’ joke…thanks! it brings back sweet memories for me. Now, are you going to post that bean soup recipe, please?

  2. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    So did the anise seem different?
    Love your write up on this … and which part of what part of your brain did you write it with.
    Yes, it is a truly beautiful loaf. Very impressed with the free form! and the slashes! I love slashes when they work.

  3. ejm Post author

    Thank you all!

    It’s still surprising me that the taste of the orange just doesn’t come through – even though the smell is so pronounced as the bread is being taken out of the bag, sliced and toasted. The white bean soup recipe is up next, Elle.

    If I’d been paying attention, Heather, I’d have started BYOBing earlier.

    The aniseed is much less pronounced than fennel seed, Tanna. In fact, it’s probably the one that licorice haters should choose. Considering that my slashes rarely work, I was ecstatic about these ones. (Good question about what part of my brain did I write with. It’s a tricky one, considering that pretty much all I have left to work with are the motor impulses. ;-))

    This is great, thanks for sharing. Good luck to you.
    Comment by Natashya — 18 March 2012 @ 12:05 EDT |edit

    Great bread, indeed, Natashya. I love it.

    Katie, we can’t easily get corned beef either (or rather, not great corned beef and we haven’t had the courage to try making it ourselves) but 1,000 Island dressing is easy easy easy to make if one has mayonnaise, sweet pickles and ketchup on hand. (I actually can’t stand the sweetness of 1000 Island dressing so my faux-Reuben sandwich is made with spiced savoury tomato paste and mayonnaise.)

    Thank you, Lien! I must admit that it’s one of the most handsome rye loaves that have ever come out of this kitchen.



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