I simply adore the aroma of fennel. Whether it’s a bulb that has been braised in the oven with salt and olive oil or fennel tops that have been chopped and scattered through a salad or pasta dish. However this bread is truly splendid. Sliced and slathered with butter it makes for a perfect stack anytime of the day. Go ahead and embrace your inner fennel!

Preparation time: 15 minutes                                    Proving time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

 

300g Strong white flour

150g 00 flour

6g Salt (Maldon)

1 tbsp Fennel seeds, crushed

290ml Tepid water

7g Dried yeast

20g Butter, melted

Preheat oven: 190°C / Gas 5

  1. Pour the flour (Strong and 00) into a large bowl and sprinkle in the salt, stir.
  2. Crush the fennel seeds using a pestle and mortar. This will add texture to the bread by varying the size of the fennel seeds.
  3. Add the yeast to the tepid water and stir, this will wake up the yeast gently.
  4. Using a wooden spoon make a well in the center of the flour. Sprinkle the fennel seeds into the flour and slowly pour the water and melted butter into well.
  5. Using your fingertips or a wooden spoon, work the flour and water together until you have the start of a dough. Once combined tumble the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  6. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and form the dough into a ball.
  7. Place the dough into clean oiled bowl and allow to prove for 2-4 hours at room temperature.
  8. After the first prove, tip your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the dough and form it into a round. Prove the dough for a further hour.
  9. Preheat the oven along with either a pizza stone or baking tray.
  10. Place the dough onto an oiled pizza stone or baking tray, slash the top with a sharp knife and sprinkle over the remaining fennel seeds.
  11. Bake for 35 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when the base is tapped.