Saturday, November 7, 2009
fig and fennel bread and roasted beet salad
It's a dark, rainy day - time to bake bread to eat later on by the fire for tea. Some tips for a great fig and fennel bread: Try to find some good, organic, stone ground flour for this recipe, it really makes for a better flavour and texture. The Red Fife, Island grown wheat would be wonderful, but I find it hard to get.http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0010468 The Seed of Life on Government street sells organic black mission figs, which is what I'm using. They're exceedingly sweet and good. Grind your fennel seeds by hand in a mortar and pestle to add a nice texture - they become too powdery in a coffee/seed grinder. You can't knead this dough too much-build up your arm muscles and knead for a good 15-20 minutes - it's a stiff dough and will give you a good upper body workout! I prefer to hand knead dough - it's one of life's simple pleasures. The recipe: 2 Tbs yeast 2 cups warm water 2 Tbs melted butter, cooled 1 Tbs molasses 2 1/2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour 2 cups unbleached white flour 1 Tbs ground fennel or anise seeds or combination 1 tsp salt 1 cup black figs proof the yeast in warm water and molasses, add the rest of the ingredients, and knead for at least 20 minutes. let rise in a warm spot until doubled, shape into loaves, let rise 1/2 hour bake @ 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Make toast and tea and sit by the fire. A nice way for the dough to rise is to bake something in the oven in the meantime - you can put your dough to rise on top of the stove. I decided to roast some beets for salad - this will keep the stove top nice and warm for an hour and the dough will rise happily as a result. http://www.oprah.com/recipe/food/recipessalads/food_20020726_beetsalad I like to add toasted walnuts and feta to the salad, and use whichever greens are available in the garden, even dandelion leaves.