Roasted Fennel and Olive Bread

Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought For Food

I am currently really excited by the thought of making my own bread, by hand not with a bread machine. I regularly make Irish Soda Bread and a variant using cheese but wanted to try something completely different. I found a recipe for a roasted fennel seed bread online which just seemed a bit plain, so I jazzed it up with some olives.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 700 g strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 7 g sachet dried active yeast
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 7 tbsp quartered Kalamata Olives, drained and dried in kitchen towel, dusting them in a little flour will also help them to be mixed into the dough

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast with half the fennel seeds, 1 tbsp of the oil and 425ml of lukewarm water.
  2. Mix to a soft dough, then transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  3. Knead in the olives until evenly distributed.
  4. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead again briefly.
  6. Shape into a sausage shape about 32cm long, slash the top a few times with a sharp knife and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Scatter the rest of the fennel seeds and a little flaked sea salt over the top.
  7. Drizzle over the rest of the oil. Cover with a tea towel again and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes or a bit longer if your mixture is a tad dense It should have risen and be golden and also sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing and buttering, Serve with a hearty soup like my Bacon and Lentil soup

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