Friday, 3 April 2009

Fennel Bread

Well, the bread making experiment continues and yesterday it was Fennel Bread. This was provoked by two things: (i) the desire I have to use up some close-to-expiry fennel seeds and (ii) the urge to try out a supposedly very simple bread recipe ( ). I must confess I was a sceptic about the bread recipe. You’re always told to treat bread dough with care, commonly, “Treat it as you would a woman…..” This recipe seemed too simple to be a success but a success it was! And the fennel was wonderfully aromatic. Now perhaps in a few years time when I have mastered the art of bread making at home I will look back and think this is a poor alternative to the loaf that comes from a perfectly kneaded , elastic dough but as yet I’m not that discerning. Warm, soft with a crispy crust, it was the perfect accompaniment to my baby version of spag bol and both daddy and my little one loved it!

Fennel Bread


One 7g sachet yeast
1 tbsp table salt
3 cups of room temp. water
6½ cups of plain flour
1 tbsp fennel seeds lightly crushed


1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together using a big wooden spoon (the mixture will be quite tacky). Cover with cling film and leave out for about two hours to rise (or store immediately in the fridge for a long rise).

2. Pre-heat oven to 230° and place a roasting dish (or some other metal dish that will hold a cup of water) in the bottom of the oven. Grease and then dust with flour two 2lb loaf tins.

3. Divide half the mixture into each tin (no kneading required). Make sure you keep dusting dough with flour while shaping so doesn't stick. Putting it into a loaf tin requires minimal shaping so I just floured my hands and the top of the dough before I took it out of the bowl.

4. Let it rest for about half hour or until it's a bit puffy. It won't double in size but it puffs up really well in the oven.

5. Dust the top with flour (and a few more fennel seeds if you wish) then slash the dough down the middle. Immediately place in the oven and as you do so throw a cup of hot water into the roasting dish in the bottom of your oven and quickly close the door.

6. Bake for about 50mins-1hr. Check by removing a loaf from its tin and knocking the bottom with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow it’s ready.

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