Recipe: Edward's Cumin & Fennel Loaf
You may notice that this is only the second baking-related recipe to appear on this blog in nine months (the first, Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, came just a week ago). Both myself and my husband Ed are much more drawn to savory, full meals, so baking just never really crosses our minds.
For our wedding in September 2017, Ed’s lovely Aunt Jilly and Uncle Neil, both Brits, gifted us with “The Great British Book of Baking.” Even though we aren’t bakers, we’re huge fans of the British television show “The Great British Bake-Off,” and this book with specifically created to accompany the first season of the show. We were intrigued, albeit slightly intimidated, to say the least.
Finally, over a year later, we actually attempted to make something from the cookbook! Ed and I landed on the aptly named Edward’s Cumin & Fennel Loaf; the ingredient list was fairly short, and it really didn’t sound that difficult. Plus, who doesn’t love bread?
In all the cooking that we’ve done together in the couple of years we’ve been together, this was by far our proudest moment. We were both ecstatic by the fact that we actually baked homemade bread and didn’t screw it up! There’s something magical about starting with humble ingredients like flour and salt and yeast and combining them to create something as tangible as a loaf of bread. If you’re in need of a little baker’s high, I sincerely recommend this recipe.
4 c. white bread flour
1 t. salt
2 t. cumin seeds
1 t. fennel seeds
1 1/2 t. dried yeast
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
Olive oil, for kneading
Wholemeal flour, for sprinkling
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
1) Mix the bread flour, salt, dried yeast, cumin seeds and fennel seeds together in a large bowl.
2) Add the water to the flour mixture and and mix it with your hand to create a soft, rough-looking dough. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it sit for 10 minutes.
3) Add a bit of olive oil to a KitchenAid mixer or something similar. Place the dough into the bowl and turn it on at a medium speed (make sure you’re using the dough hook). Allow the dough to rotate ten times. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
4) Repeat this kneading and resting process twice more. After the dough has been kneaded three times total, cover it and let is sit for 30 minutes. Knead the dough for a fourth time after the 30 minutes are up.
5) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Shape the dough into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. Cover the dough with a damp dish cloth and leave it to rise until it has doubled in size, about one hour.
6) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a second baking sheet into the oven.
7) Once the dough is done, slide it on its sheet of parchment paper from the first tray to the warmed tray. Spray the dough with a bit of water, then sprinkle it with wholemeal flour. Bake it for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the loaf for about 27 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.
This dough has such fantastic flavor and would be delicious served with a hearty shakshuka or these Cheesy Eggs & Caramelized Brussels. Cut thinly, it makes a great sandwich bread, too! I ate a piece today topped with smashed avocado, queso fresco pickled red onions, pepperoncinis and freshly cracked black pepper.