This Whole Wheat Peasant Boule with Flax and Fennel Seeds is super fluffy with a very soft and light interior, along with a super thin crust. It's a really easy dough to work with, and comes together very quickly. The second rise takes only 25 minutes.
What is so unusual about this bread is the inclusion of baking powder along with yeast. While I can't find much information about what it brings to the dough, I did find the dough to be really easy to handle after the first rise, even though the dough was pretty high in hydration (over 70%). Shaping it into a ball took very little effort, and I didn't need to flour the counter or my hands.
This loaf was baked in an 8 inch cake pan, but you can bake it free form, or in a sandwich loaf pan. You can also use this recipe for dinner rolls (adjust the baking time). It is really tasty sliced and buttered, and is wonderful for sandwiches.
It's Secret Recipe Club time again (the fourth Friday of the month for our group), and this month, I was assigned Susan's blog, The Wimpy Vegetarian. Susan describes herself as a "mostly vegetarian married to a mostly carnivore." I love that! In fact, I've loved Susan's blog for a long time. While she shares (mostly) vegetarian recipes, she has created her fare to make it more appealing to omnivores.
She is a culinary school graduate, and she has won quite a few recipe contests, and has even had her recipes featured in cookbooks! Rockstar!!
When I visited her recipe index, I was immediately drawn to her Bread section. After all, I am a total bread head (just take a look at my index). I love how Susan describes the transformative experience of baking bread... first the fear, then the relaxation, then the revelation.
One of my favorite posts on her blog is the Braised Fennel and Endive Gratin. The recipe is amazing, but her reflection on Thanksgiving really hit home with me. It's a wonderful read.
I finally chose this bread, because it involves combining yeast and baking powder, a combination I had not tried before... plus, it's bread!!! Thanks Susan!!!
Whole Wheat Peasant Boule with Flax and Fennel Seeds Recipe
12 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
3 ounces whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 T ground flax seeds
1 T whole fennel seeds
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 C warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees F)
2 T honey
3 T unsalted butter, melted
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
- Add the honey and butter to the warm water, and pour it into flour mixture.
- Stir the ingredients with a large spoon or dough whisk until all of the flour is wet.
- Mix the dough with the dough hook on medium speed for about 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl. I had to add about 1 1/2 T of extra flour to get it to clear the sides.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Coat an 8 inch cake pan with olive oil. Shape the dough into a tight ball, and place it, seam side down, into the center of the cake pan.
- Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil on top. Spread it over the shaped dough with your hands. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.
- Place the pan in a warm spot, and let rise for about 25 minutes, until the dough fills the pan. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake the loaf for 40 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of about 200 degrees F.
- Tip the loaf out of the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, as difficult as that may be.