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Fennel Bread loaf sliced on cutting board

Fennel Bread

Sarah Dougall Shorter
A semi-sweet bread that is fabulous smothered in butter, either with coffee or alongside a savory dinner!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Scandinavian
Servings 2 Loaves
Calories 1352 kcal


  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Fennel Seeds (Crushed)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Lukewarm water (About 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 5 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Egg Yolks


  • In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in the warm water. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan heat the milk and butter on low until the butter is melted.
  • While the milk is heating, crush the fennel seeds by placing them between a folded sheet of parchment or wax paper and press down on them with a spoon.
  • Once butter is melted, remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and fennel seeds to the warm milk and butter and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
  • Once the milk has cooled (to about 110 degrees) and the yeast is foamy, combine both and add the egg yolks.
  • Stir in the flour little by little, combining as much as you can before adding more.
  • Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover and let it rise double, about 2 hours.
  • Dust a light layer of flour over the top of the dough and lightly punch it down so it deflates. Cover and let it rise again for 2 hours.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and form into two equal balls.
  • Place each ball of dough on its own greased cookie sheet. Lightly cover and let rise again.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Gently prick the loaves with a fork all over, not deep, just lightly breaking the surface.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the loaves begin to lightly brown.
  • Carefully remove from the oven and brush the top with butter (optional).


  • I use softened butter to grease the bowl and cookie sheets for rising and baking.
  • Damp flour sack towels work best for covering while rising.
Keyword Bread, Fennel, homemade