On Sunday morning I decided to make some bread. (You may have noticed that I like making bread. It’s easy to do and immensely satisfying when you’re sitting there, eating your own, home-made bread. I do have a bread maker but I don’t think I’ve used it once since getting the Italian Home Baking book!) I wanted to go for one from the Gino D’Acampo book that I’d not made before and also one that was nicely crusty to go with the sausage casserole I was planning on making for dinner.
I chose this one as it looked nice and didn’t take too long. (another one I liked the look of required 2-3 hours to rise!) This loaf contains fennel seeds, however, I didn’t have any and am not really keen on the taste of fennel anyway. Fortunately the recipe itself suggested substituting poppy seeds for fennel seeds so that’s what I did. (I suppose that the name should, therefore, be ‘Pannotta con semi di papavero* or something like that) (*I just popped that into Google translate – I don’t speak Italian!)
Anyway, it’s a nice recipe and produces a nice, light, crusty loaf.
450g strong white flour
1 teaspoon of salt, plus extra for topping
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
10g of dried, fast acting, yeast
1 tablespoon of fennel (or poppy) seeds, crushed (Don’t crush the poppy seeds – they’re tiny as it is. And they get everywhere!)
280ml of warm water
30g of salted butter, melted
1 egg white
Olive oil for brushing
Brush a baking tray and a large bowl with oil.
Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt, sugar and yeast.
Make a well in the centre
Sprinkle over half a teaspoon of seeds.
Pour in the mixed warm water and melted butter.
Mix into a soft dough. (this one gets really sticky so I start off the mixing with a wooden spoon before going on to use my hands.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (This one remains slightly sticky throughout so it’s good to have extra flour to hand.)
Shape into a ball and place in the oiled bowl.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour in a warm, draft-free place.
Turn out onto a floured surface and punch down. Shape into an oval loaf and place on the oiled baking tray.
Brush the top with a little oil, cover with cling film and leave to rise for another 40 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 220.
Mix the egg white with a pinch of salt.
Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white and then sprinkle with the remaining seeds. With a sharp knife to make a cut right down the length of the loaf.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes reduce the heat to 180 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Delicious served warm with cheese and ham.
Also goes really nicely with a rich sausage casserole. Hey – guess what recipe I’m writing up next!?