Fennel Seed and Orange Peel Bread
My son and daughter, both professional chefs, love the taste of fennel. They always insist that I make my fennel seed and orange peel bread when they come to visit. A bread machine will make the kneading easier, but it is not necessary. I have never used the bread machine to mix this one, as it is big enough for two loaves, and thus won't fit in my small bread maker. Hand touched is always nicer anyway. The loaves can also be braided for a nice touch.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 2cups milk, scalded
- ⅓cup honey
- 2tablespoons maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2(.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- ½cup warm water (100 degrees F (38 degrees C))
- 7½ cups unsifted white bread flour, divided
- 1½ teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1½ teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
- ¼cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 1egg white, slightly beaten
Step 1Pour scalded milk over honey, maple syrup, and salt in a large bowl. Let cool to lukewarm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 2Soften yeast in warm water in a bowl until frothy, about 5 minutes. Combine with milk mixture. Beat in 2 cups flour, orange zest, and fennel seeds using an electric mixer. Blend in butter. Stir in 5 cups flour to make a soft dough.
Step 3Sprinkle last 1/2 cup flour on a board; turn dough onto floured board and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Step 4Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape loaves. Place in 2 lightly greased bread pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Step 5Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush tops of loaves with egg white.
Step 6Bake loaves in the preheated oven until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes.