Sunday, September 9, 2012

Peasant Bread with Fennel and Sea Salt Crust

I’ve recently become obsessed with rubbing fennel seeds all over my breads.  I would have never come up with this idea on my own.  A local bakery, Blue Oven, makes amazing breads filled with seeds and herbs, including fennel.  And luckily we have huge fennel plants all over the garden.  This is a picture of one plant flowering, with my boyfriend behind it so you can see how big it is! 
I adapted a recipe from an old bread machine cook book, called Peasant Bread.  I guess because it’s so simple and always turns out pretty good. 
First mix:
1 cup bread flour
1 cup white flour
1 ¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp yeast
1 cup water

                                                                             Knead dough for 10 minutes.

Take a baking sheet and sprinkle around your mix of herbs, seeds and sea salt.  Try different combination; for this bread I used fennel, sea salt, dried basil, flax and dill seeds.
Stretch your dough out slightly into loaf shape, then rub the surface with olive oil and roll it through the seasoning mix.  Let rise for an hour or until it doubles in size.
Cook at 400° for 20 minutes or so, until golden brown.  I just cooked it on the same baking sheet for a flatter loaf, but use a bread pan for a sandwich loaf.

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