Fennel Seed Bread

I got this recipe from an Estonian food blog (http://nami-nami.blogspot.com/), which in turn got it from a Swedish baker. It’s delicious, and what a nice change to use yeast and such basic ingredients in a recipe again! Mine didn’t rise as high as hoped, but I’ll try to fix that next time. I also used two tablespoons of fennel seed instead of the two teaspoons called for below. I recommend it.

25 grams fresh yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
400 ml tepid water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fennel seeds
4 1/4 cups plain flour

Crumble the yeast into a large bowl, add honey and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add tepid water and stir until everything is dissolved.

Add the salt and fennel seeds and most — not all — of the flour. Stir until combined, adding more flour if the dough is too wet. You may need to knead the dough by hand toward the end.

Cover the bowl with a clean towel or clingfilm and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place about one to two hours, until double in bulk.

Punch down dough. Divide it into two equally sized pieces. Put a little flour in your hands and, on a lightly floured surface, form each dough piece into an oblong loaf.

Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper and lift the dough pieces onto the baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 250C/480F degrees and let the dough rise outside the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Bake the loaves in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 150C/300F degrees and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer, until the bread is light golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Let cool on a metal rack, loosely covered with a towel.

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