Bread machine recipe: Waterford saffron-fennel bread

Copyright © 2018, 2022 — Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

One day when I was a bit dazed, I wondered how Irish soda bread would taste with some saffron in it.

The result is this very light fluffy bread with saffron and fennel seeds, and a bit of whole-wheat fiber. Even though I started from a couple of Irish soda bread recipes, the result isn't very Irish or soda-ish. I've named it "Waterford" because saffron is now being cultivated in County Waterford, in the south of Ireland.

Image of bread loaf

There's a reasonable chance this recipe will work with any 2-pound bread machine (or in your oven), but I've only tested it on a Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20. (I'm sure the loaf weighs less than 2 pounds, but you'll need that much space for it to rise.)

Add to the baking pan:

  • 1⅛ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Add the dry ingredients on top:

  • 2½ cups white bread flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 0.1 gram saffron, crumbled [see NOTE below]
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast

[NOTE about saffron: How the heck do you measure saffron threads? You can't exactly spoon them out! Well, the package has a weight printed on it, so I figure it's easiest to use grams. Our grocery store sells a 0.4 gram box of Badia brand Spanish saffron in the Mexican foods section, and I used about a quarter of a box, which is roughly the amount of whole saffron threads that fit precariously in a ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon.]

You can try this on the "Basic/Regular" cycle, crust darkness "Medium" (3h25m). (If you have a different brand of breadmaker, try the standard "White Bread" cycle.) But I'm getting better results with a longer rise time. The Zojirushi bread machines let you program a custom "Home Made" cycle, and this is what I'm using:

  • REST: 30 min
  • KNEAD: 19 min
  • SHAPE: On [optional, if you want to re-shape the loaf]
  • RISE 1: 35 min
  • RISE 2: 25 min
  • RISE 3: 50 min
  • BAKE: 60 min
  • KEEP WARM: Off


This article was updated on June 28, 2022