Fennel seed is a much-loved seed at Bourke Street Bakery. We are not the only ones who love it, as it features prominently in Italian, Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. The fennel seed also has a minor role in Chinese, Malaysian and German cookery. It has an intense anise flavour that is unmistakable.
To make the anise fruit sourdough, follow the instructions for mixing sourdough until you can create a window. Lightly mix in the fennel seeds, fruit soak and rye starter. You can do this by hand by lightly folding the ingredients through the dough until just combined, or simply add it to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 2–3 minutes on slow speed — you will need to give it a helping hand by stopping the mixer a few times to push the dough around the bowl. Lightly grease a container with oil spray and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at ambient room temperature (approximately 20°C/68°F) for 1 hour to bulk prove.
To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press out into a rectangle, about
Use a blunt knife or divider to divide the dough into two even-sized portions, about
Line two small baskets with a tea towel (dish towel) in each, lightly dust both with flour and place a loaf inside each, seam side up. If you are using a traditional cane basket, you don’t need the tea towel and can simply dust the basket with flour. Alternatively, you can place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down. Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8–12 hours.
Spray the oven with water and reduce the temperature to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).
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