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    Fennel and olive bread

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    Fennel and olive bread

    A delicious bread to accompany any meal - best served warm.

    • Vegetarian
    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes plus proving
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes to 35 minutes

    Serves: 12

    Ingredients

    700g strong white bread flour
    ½ tsp salt
    1 tsp sugar
    7g sachet dried active yeast
    2 tsp fennnel seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
    2 tsp olive oil
    7 tbsp Cooks' Ingredients Quartered Kalamata Olives, drained

    Method

    1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast with half the fennel seeds, 1 tbsp of the oil and 425ml of lukewarm water. Mix to a soft dough, then transfer to a floured worksurface. Knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
    2. Knead in the olives until evenly distributed. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
    3. Turn the dough out onto the worksurface and knead again briefly. Shape into a sausage shape about 32cm long and slash the top a few times with a sharp knife. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Scatter the rest of the fennel seeds and a little flaked sea salt over the top. Drizzle over the rest of the oil. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again for 20 minutes.
    4. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, until risen and golden, and it sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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    Cook's tips

    Dust the olives in a little flour to make it easier to knead them in.

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