hungarian split farmhouse loafrating:
This is cooking as I type - it smells gorgeous!
450g unbleached white bread flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tbsp caster sugar
20g fresh yeast
275ml luke warm water
25g butter, melted
1 egg white (I cheated and used milk)
2 tsp fennel seeds, for sprinkling
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl, and stir in the crushed fennel seeds and caster sugar. Make a well in the centre.
Cream the yeast with a little of the water, then stir in the rest. Pour this into the well in the flour, mix a little flour into it, then draw the rest of the flour across the top. I know this sounds odd, but you'll see how to do it when you do it, if that makes sense. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until the sponge starts to bubble and rise.
Add the melted butter, and knead into a dough. A mixer with a dough hook is very useful at this stage, otherwise knead for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with oiled clingfilm, and leave to rise for about 45-60 minutes. As I usually do when making bread, I just left mine overnight.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back. Shape into an oval, put it on the baking sheet, and cover again with oiled clingfilm.
Leave for as long as you need until it's doubled in size - that'll depend very much on the temperature. Mine took an hour this morning.
Then brush the egg white (or milk) over the top, sprinkle with the fennel seeds, and cut a slash into the dough with a sharp knife. (I forgot).
Bake at gas mark 7/220C for 20 minutes, then reduce to gas 4/180 and bake for a further 10 minutes. The loaf is ready when it sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Cool on a wire rack.