Cooking: An Olive Oil, Cumin and Fennel Seed Sourish Dough Bread

Fennel and Olive Oil Bread

This was another wonderful bread that we made often. I love the story that goes with the bread (see below) and a big shoutout to Rae, wherever you are. I miss you! Loved that day at the beach.

Since reposting this recipe, it has reentered our life as one of our fav bread recipes.

Fennel Seed and Olive Oil Bread Coated with Polenta | Heat in The Kitchen | Bead Recipes \ Vegetarian

This bread pictured above was coated in polenta before cooking using the “cook in a pot” method. It was delicious, with a crispy crust. It looks very “polenta-y” here, but it was delicious. See the pic at the end of the post for another baking of the bread.

Olive Oil and Fennel Bread

Make this bread with ordinary, high fibre, unbleached or any other flour. It takes two days to make as you need to sour the dough first. It is NOT a full-blown heavy sour dough, just a slightly sour taste that goes so well with the fennel, and thus is delicious layered with pesto, tomatoes, cheese and snow pea shoots.

I was making the this bread one morning to take to a friend’s place on the beach, for a delicious summer lunch and salad. And a Primo Estate. I was interrupted by a telephone call from the US, and was thus running well behind time. So, after the first rising I place the dough in the bread pans, wrapped them in a towel and put them in the car. It had its second rising in the car, driving on a 40 degree day, to Henley Beach.

That isn’t the end of the story – when I arrived, my friend duly put the oven on at 220 degrees as I instructed, and the bread into the oven a few minutes later. It took me half an hour to realise the oven was an old Farenheight oven. I despaired for the bread, receiving this extra, warmish raising time, but another half hour later (with the oven on 440 degrees) we were eating the best sourish dough bread with an extra crispy crust. I made more the next day, but I still think that the car-risen, oven-crisped bread was better!

Leaven 2 tspn dried yeast 300g bread flour
0.33 tspn ground cumin tepid water
Bread leaven 1.5 Tblspn fennel seeds
600g bread flour tepid water
1 tspn salt 0.5 cup olive oil

Leaven: Mix the yeast, flour, cumin and water to a sticky mixture and stand, covered, for 2 days.

Bread: Combine leaven, fennel seeds, salt and the 600 g flour and enough water to make a smooth dough that is a little sticky. Knead for 8 minutes in a bread mixture. Place in a lightly greased bowl and allow to double in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Punch the dough down and lightly knead, gradually working in the olive oil. Shape and slash the loaf with a sharp knife. Make one to three round loaves, one or two larger loaves, three smaller loaves or about 6 individual loaves. Allow to rise again until it is about double in size. Bake until crisp and golden, about 20 – 30 minutes for the larger sizes, spraying with water three times in the first 10 minutes.


Fennel Seed and Olive Oil Bread Coated with Polenta | Heat in The Kitchen | Bead Recipes Vegetarian

Here, the leaven has just been mixed.

Fennel Seed and Olive Oil Bread Coated with Polenta | Heat in The Kitchen | Bead Recipes Vegetarian

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also liked our Bread recipes here and here.


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